COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A condemned Ohio killer facing a never-tried lethal injection method unsuccessfully tried to delay his execution by requesting to become an organ donor, according to documents released Wednesday.
Dennis McGuire’s attorney twice asked Gov. John Kasich for a reprieve similar to one provided in November to a death row prisoner who wants to donate a kidney and his heart to relatives, the documents show.
“Dennis should be permitted to donate his organs to those who need them, including those with no relation to him,” attorneys wrote in a Jan. 2 letter to Kasich obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request. They made a similar request in mid-December.
“Unless this governor or a court provides otherwise, Dennis will ultimately be executed regardless of whether he is permitted to donate his organs,” the letter said. “But the viable organs he can provide should not die with him.”
Kasich rejected the requests this month because McGuire couldn’t identify a family member to receive the organs, a requirement under the state’s inmate organ donation policy.
“The Southern Ohio Correctional Facility is not a hospital,” Samuel Porter, Kasich’s assistant chief counsel, said in a Jan. 7 letter, referring to the prison where the state death house is located.
The letter indicates McGuire has told the state to cremate his body and deliver his ashes to his daughter.
Kasich granted an eight-month reprieve to child killer Ronald Phillips to give the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction time to consider the inmate’s request to donate a kidney to his mother and his heart to his sister.
McGuire, 53, is scheduled to die Thursday for the 1989 rape and fatal stabbing of Joy Stewart in Preble County in western Ohio.
On Wednesday morning, McGuire was moved from death row in Chillicothe to the death house in Lucasville. He was calm and cooperative and requested a last meal that included roast beef and fried chicken, said prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday was still considering a last-minute request to delay McGuire’s execution on the grounds that a jury never got to hear the full extent of his chaotic and abusive childhood. The state opposes that appeal, saying similar challenges have failed several times over the decades.
Ohio prison officials plan to use a sedative and a painkiller to put McGuire to death. The state announced the two-drug process 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.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.