16 January 2014 19:34

 LUCASVILLE — A condemned killer appeared to gasp several times and took more than 15 minutes to die Thursday as he was executed with a combination of drugs never before tried in the U.S.

Dennis McGuire was still for almost five minutes, then emitted a loud snort, as if snoring, and continued to make that sound over the next several minutes. He also opened and shut his mouth several times without making a sound as his stomach rose and fell.

"Oh my God," his daughter, Amber McGuire, said as she observed her father's final moments. His adult children sobbed in a witness room as they watched him die.

In trying to stop his execution, McGuire's lawyers had argued that he was at substantial risk of a medical phenomenon known as air hunger, which would cause him to experience terror as he strains to catch his breath.

McGuire, 53, was sentenced to die for the 1989 rape and fatal stabbing of a young pregnant woman. He acknowledged that he was responsible in a letter to Gov. John Kasich last month.

Ohio's never-tried lethal injection method was adopted after the maker of the state's previous drug put it off limits for capital punishment.

Some states that still carry out executions have struggled to find drug supplies for lethal injections after companies refused to supply the drugs for that purpose.


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