Ohio executes man using animal euthanasia drug
- Reuters – Johnnie Baston in an undated photo. REUTERS/Ohio Department of Rehabilition and Correction http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110310/us_nm/us_ohio_execution;_ylt=Avmu5XMfo8T5E_5aUQtyMbKs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNscTNsb3ZhBGFzc2V0A25tLzIwMTEwMzEwL3VzX29oaW9fZXhlY3V0aW9uBGNjb2RlA21vc3Rwb3B1bGFyBGNwb3MDNgRwb3MDMwRwdANob21lX2Nva2UEc2VjA3luX2hlYWRsaW5lX2xpc3QEc2xrA29oaW9leGVjdXRlcw
- COLUMBUS (Reuters) – Johnnie Baston, a man convicted of killing a Toledo store owner, became the first person executed in Ohio with a drug that is often used to euthanize pets and other animals.
Baston, 37, died at 10:30 a.m. local time on Thursday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, according to JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Baston, who was convicted of the 1994 killing of Chong Mah, is the ninth person executed in the U.S. in 2011.
Lethal injection executions in Ohio have previously used sodium thiopental. But Hospira Inc. of Illinois said in January it would stop making the drug altogether after Italy, where it planned to move production, objected because the European Union has banned the death penalty.
[Related: Ill. residents split on end of death penalty]
So Ohio is now using pentobarbital, a barbiturate, according to Smith.
Prosecutors alleged that Baston, who had a juvenile record as a thief, had killed Mah and taken team logo hats and “starter” type jackets from the store, according to Baston’s clemency report.
Baston, who was 20 at the time of the murder, admitted to participating in the robbery but denied shooting Chong Mah. Baston said he had no intention to kill anyone, and that an accomplice had committed the murder.
The defense argued in an appeal for clemency that the family of the victim did not want Baston to be sentenced to death and still opposed his execution.
The defense also argued that Baston, who had been abandoned by his mother and abused by his father, has been a model inmate and participated in several community service projects.
Ohio Governor John Kasich denied the petition for clemency.
Smith said Baston had no requests for his last meal, so he ate on Wednesday night what everyone else at the prison was eating: beef macaroni casserole, spinach, peas, fresh fruit, wheat bread and a beverage.
The Baston execution took place a day after the governor of Illinois banned the death penalty in the state, finding the system was too flawed to be fixed.
The U.S. executed 46 people last year, down from 52 in 2009.