Family of Executed Ohio Man Files Lawsuit Against Drugmaker

Alleges death was unconstitutional

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The family of an Ohio inmate who was executed last week with an untested combination of drugs that caused him to gasp and snort during the 26 minutes before his death filed a federal lawsuit Friday against the drug maker.

The lawsuit alleges Hopira Inc. should not have allowed the drugs, midazolam and hydromorphone, to be used for capital punishment, and that the company should have known they “would cause unnecessary and extreme pain and suffering during the execution process,” according to the Associated Press, amounting to cruel and unusual punishment.

“We’re taking drugs that have therapeutic value and we’re not using them for the purposes for which the FDA approved nor for which the clinical tests were performed,” the family lawyers told the AP.

Dennis McGuire was sentenced to death for the 1989 rape and murder of 22-year-old Joy Stewart. His 26-minute execution was the longest since the state resumed putting inmates to death in 1999.