Ohio uses last lethal drug dose to execute convicted murderer

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 25, 2013 10:20 AM
Ohio uses last lethal drug dose to execute convicted murderer

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Ohio used the state's last available dose of the drug pentobarbital on Wednesday to execute a man described by prosecutors as a racist, who was convicted of killing a neighbor and then a police officer responding to the shooting.

Harry Mitts Jr., 61, was pronounced dead at 10:30 a.m. ET (1430 GMT) at the Southern Ohio Correctional facility, a state corrections department official said.

Mitts, who was white, was convicted in 1994 of killing a neighbor, John Bryant, and then shooting to death Ohio police officer Dennis Glivar as he responded to the shooting. Mitts also tried to kill two other police officers.

Prosecutors argued that Mitts was a racist who allowed two white people to flee unharmed before he shot Bryant, a black man, and used racial epithets during a standoff with police.

Mitts did not contest the evidence against him at trial, instead arguing that he was too intoxicated to form the required intent to kill.

Ohio's supply of pentobarbital expires at the end of September and will no longer be legal for executions. The drug, a barbiturate used to relieve tension and relax patients before surgery, is lethal if given in high doses.

Ohio is the latest state forced to find alternate methods after pentobarbital's Danish manufacturer Lundbeck cut off supplies to customers likely to use it for executions, in accordance with Danish law and European human rights law.

Ohio has said it plans to have a new execution drug protocol in place in October. The state is next scheduled to execute inmate Ronald Phillips on November 14.

Mitts was the 26th person executed in the United States so far in 2013 and the third in Ohio, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by Greg McCune and Andrew Hay)