Ohio death row inmate: Doctor couldn't find veins - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Ohio death row inmate: Doctor couldn't find veins

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction). In this undated photo released by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows Ronald Phillips. (AP Photo/Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction). In this undated photo released by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows Ronald Phillips.

By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS
AP Legal Affairs Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A prison doctor couldn't find veins in the arms of a death row inmate during a pre-execution checkup, the inmate said Friday by video in rare court testimony.

Condemned child killer Ronald Phillips said the doctor could find only a vein on his right hand following an examination Oct. 18 at the medical center at Chillicothe Correctional Institution, south of Columbus.

"I guess the Lord hid my veins from them," Phillips said.

Phillips, 40, testified under questioning by his attorneys that the doctor said he wasn't part of the state's lethal-injection process when asked to do the checks. A prison nurse also participated.

Phillips said he had a fear of needles dating from childhood when his parents would sell drugs and let addicts shoot up in their kitchen in a tough Akron neighborhood.

He testified by video hookup from the prison where death row is housed for more than an hour. He's scheduled to die Nov. 14 for raping and killing his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter, Sheila Marie Evans, in 1993.

There are no recent examples of Ohio death row inmates testifying in person or by video in federal court cases.

Phillips testified as part of a lawsuit brought by his attorneys to delay his execution while they gather evidence against the state's new execution policy, which includes a never-tried, two-drug injection process.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction announced the new policy last month and said Monday it would use that process, which uses the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone.

Phillips' attorneys say the department's announcements came too close to the execution date to allow a meaningful challenge. The state says nothing is substantially different about the new system.

The hearing Friday began by focusing on the state's decision to allow the prisons director or death house warden to delegate responsibility for changes in the execution process. That could include any deviation from the policy, down to paperwork documenting a particular step.

Ohio has walked away from that promise with the new policies, Phillips' attorney Allen Bohnert told the judge.

"Close enough for government work is not acceptable in applying this death penalty protocol," Bohnert said.

An attorney for Ohio said the state is committed to carrying out the execution in a humane, dignified and constitutional manner and understands that commitment.

"The state will do what the state says it will do," said Christopher Conomy, an assistant Ohio attorney general.

Judge Gregory Frost was not expected to rule Friday.

Phillips' attorneys also are challenging the state's new policy for the lethal drugs it will use.

The state's first choice is a specialty dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital mixed by a compounding pharmacy. If that can't be obtained, as in the case of Phillips' execution, the state will use the two-drug method to put Phillips to death.

Phillips' lawyers argue the two drugs could cause severe side effects, including painful vomiting.

Those drugs, already part of Ohio's never-used backup method, have been repeatedly challenged, to no avail, the state said in a court filing Friday morning.

The drugs Ohio is proposing to use on Phillips will cause him to stop breathing within a few minutes, an anesthesiologist said in a statement Thursday as part of a filing by the state in support of the new method.

Irreversible brain and heart damage will follow, and the inmate will die a few minutes later, said Dr. Mark Dershwitz, a University of Massachusetts anesthesiologist.

___

Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 2 beaten to death in Houston nursing home

    2 beaten to death in Houston nursing home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 1:07 PM EDT2014-04-23 17:07:03 GMT
    HOUSTON, Texas (AP) - A resident of a Houston nursing home is accused of beating two of his roommates to death with the armrest of his wheelchair. More >>
    HOUSTON, Texas (AP) - A resident of a Houston nursing home is accused of beating two of his roommates to death with the armrest of his wheelchair. More >>
  • Caught on Camera: Teachers abusing students

    Caught on Camera: Teachers abusing students

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 3:37 PM EDT2014-04-23 19:37:01 GMT
    (NBC News) - From a heavy handed slap that knocks the special needs student out of his seat, to a series of hits on the head for another child on the floor. In just four days Ms. "J" says she recorded more abuse than she could bear in her Atlanta classroom.More >>
    (NBC News) - From a heavy handed slap that knocks the special needs student out of his seat, to a series of hits on the head for another child on the floor. In just four days Ms. "J" says she recorded more abuse than she could bear in her Atlanta classroom.More >>
  • Crime Stoppers tip leads to arrest of Alexandria man

    Crime Stoppers tip leads to arrest of Alexandria man

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 3:45 PM EDT2014-04-23 19:45:07 GMT
    RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office said a tip from Crime Stoppers led to an Alexandria drug arrest on April 22.More >>
    RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office said a tip from Crime Stoppers led to an Alexandria drug arrest on April 22.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KALB. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.