COLUMBUS, Ohio — The state made preparations on Wednesday to use a never-tried lethal drug combination to put a man to death for the slaying of a pregnant woman that went unsolved until he inadvertently helped authorities, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block the execution.
Dennis McGuire, jailed on an unrelated assault charge, told investigators he had information about the woman’s Feb. 12, 1989, death. His attempts to blame the crime on his brother-in-law quickly unraveled, and soon he was accused of being Joy Stewart’s killer, prosecutors said. More than a decade later, DNA evidence confirmed McGuire’s guilt, and he acknowledged that he was responsible in a letter to Gov. John Kasich last month.
The state planned to execute McGuire on Thursday with a new process adopted after supplies of its previous drug dried up when the manufacturer put it off limits for capital punishment. The two-drug combination has never been used in a U.S. execution.
The state opposed McGuire’s last-minute appeal, in which he claimed a jury never heard the full extent of his chaotic and abusive childhood.
“One can scarcely conceive of a sequence of crimes more shocking to the conscience or to moral sensibilities than the senseless kidnapping and rape of a young, pregnant woman followed by her murder,” Preble County prosecutors said in a filing with the state parole board last month.
McGuire, 53, was moved from death row in Chillicothe on Wednesday morning to the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, where executions are carried out. He was calm and cooperative and requested a last meal that included roast beef and fried chicken, prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said.
McGuire spent part of Wednesday visiting with his son, daughter and other family members, Smith said.