Dear friend,

August was a busy month for OTSE and our movement!

In case you missed it, a federal judge extended Ohio’s moratorium on the death penalty throughout the rest of 2014. Following on the heels of that news, an expert witness was submitted an affidavit suggesting Dennis McGuire’s execution in January was not humane and that he very likely experienced “true pain and suffering” before losing consciousness. Then it was announced that the anesthesiologist who had been helping Ohio and other states maintain their lethal injection protocol will no longer do so.

Many of you helped spread these developments on social media, e-mail, and word of mouth; soon, the world was watching how Ohio’s death penalty system seemed to be crumbling under its major shortcomings and embarrassments.

Read on to learn more about the moratorium, the expert testimony, and more news that made headlines in August. Also, keep your eyes peeled for another e-mail from OTSE soon with exciting news about our organization.


Kevin Werner

Executive Director

PS – A warm welcome to the 100+ individuals who signed up with OTSE at Toledo Pride and other recent events!

Moratorium Until 2015

In May of this year, U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost issued a moratorium on executions in Ohio, in the wake of Dennis McGuire’s troubling January execution. He urged attorneys defending inmates, as well as the state, to “work together to coordinate efforts so that the court can set necessary deadlines following expiration of the stay.” As the expiration neared, Judge Frost found it necessary to extend the moratorium. No new executions will be carried out until after January 15, 2015; this order by the federal judge effectively acts to postpone the executions of Ronald R. Phillip, Raymond Tibbetts, and Gregory Lott which were set to take place later this year.

Dennis McGuire Suffered

Following the execution of Dennis McGuire in January, the children of Mr. McGuire filed a lawsuit against the State of Ohio alleging that their father was tortured during the administering of the death penalty. While prison officials claimed “the process worked very well,” an expert witness is now stepping forward with troubling revelations. Dr. Kent Diveley, an anesthesiologist who has attended more than 20,000 patients undergoing anesthetics for a wide range of procedures, laid out the facts that show “to a degree of medical certainty this was not a humane execution.”

The State's Witness is Leaving the Stand

The expert witness who has testified in court on behalf of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) will no longer be defending problematic drug protocols used in executions. A press release in April by ODRC implied the witness– Dr. Mark Dershwitz–played a role in developing the State’s current protocol. Because the American Board of Anesthesiology prohibits its members from participating in lethal injection, the announcement forced the licensed anesthesiologist to step down from his role as expert witness. This development has national repercussions, as Dr. Dershwitz testified for 21 other states besides Ohio.

In The News

The roundup, from the OTSE news bulletin:

  • Exclusive Emails Show Ohio's Doubts About Lethal Injection – New Republic READ
  • Dennis McGuire's execution was not 'humane,' doctor says – Columbus Dispatch READ
  • Judge: No More Ohio Executions This Year – Cincinnati Enquirer READ
  • The Case Against the Death Penalty — From the Right – New York Times READ

Upcoming Events

Ohioans to Stop Executions is preparing to get into high gear as the summer winds down. We're pinning down a few more details now that we're past Labor Day, so watch for special announcement for events in your area, and also check the calendar of events on the OTSE Web Page.

Anticipated events include everything from a single speaker participating in a weekly worship service or adult study group to regional training conferences and more “Voices of Experience” events throughout the state from September into December, and beyond. Please plan to support these activities, which are all about implementing the OTSE agenda to enact legislation implementing the recommendations of the Ohio Supreme Court Joint Task Force on the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty.

To schedule an event in your area or to volunteer as we prepare the regional training series, please contact