Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday issued a reprieve to three more Death Row inmates, pushing off their scheduled executions while Ohio works to develop a new lethal injection protocol that withstands challenges in federal court.
The order moves the scheduled executions for the following inmates: Cleveland Jackson from May 29 to Nov. 13; Kareem Jackson from July 10 to Jan. 16; Gregory Lott from Aug. 14 to March 12, 2020. In January, DeWine issued a reprieve of execution to Warren Henness.
The delays come in response to a Jan. 14 order from federal Magistrate Michael R. Merz of Dayton that found Ohio’s current three-drug protocol to be cruel and unusual punishment.
The DeWine administration said the latest round of reprieves come because it is “highly unlikely” that a new protocol can be developed and litigated by the originally scheduled execution dates.
At a forum organized by the Associated Press in February, DeWine was asked by this newspaper whether he had personal reservations about capital punishment.
“It is the law of the state of Ohio. I’m going to let it go at that at this point. We are seeing, clearly, some challenges that you all have reported in regard to carrying out the death penalty. I’m not going to go down that path any more today,” he said.
DeWine voted for the capital punishment law as a state senator nearly 40 years ago, long before DNA analysis of crime scene evidence led to exonerations from death rows across the country.
There are 137 inmates on Ohio Death Row, including Samuel Moreland of Dayton, who was found guilty of murdering two women and three children in November 1985. Moreland, who insists he is innocent, won the right for additional DNA testing, which has been delayed because of bureaucratic red tape.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost recently took steps to arrange for the testing to be done on the Moreland case by the state crime labs. Results are expected within 30 days of the lab receiving the material to test.