COLUMBUS, Ohio – Gov. Ted Strickland on Monday delayed the state’s next two executions to allow a full review of lethal injection procedures, the latest in a series of unprecedented capital punishment developments in Ohio.
Strickland ordered the reprieves for condemned inmates Lawrence Reynolds, scheduled to be executed Thursday, and Darryl Durr, scheduled to die next month, in the midst of a legal battle over Reynolds’ execution.
Reynolds’ execution was delayed until March 9, Durr’s until April 20. Strickland said the Ohio corrections department needed more time to finish updating protocols for dealing with long delays in finding suitable veins on inmates.
The surprise announcement Monday came as the U.S. Supreme Court weighed whether to allow Reynolds’ execution, for strangling his 67-year-old neighbor in 1994, to proceed. Earlier Monday, a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had delayed the execution, citing problems with the planned Sept. 15 execution of Romell Broom.
Strickland stopped Broom’s injection after executioners failed to find a vein after two hours. Until it was halted, the execution had taken the longest in Ohio to date, and Strickland’s order to stop it was unprecedented nationally since the country resumed executions in the 1970s.
Death penalty experts say it could be months before it’s clear what effect Broom’s case could have on executions elsewhere.