New execution mix went wrong

Something went terribly wrong Thursday when Ohio prison officials tried a new mixture of chemicals to execute a convicted murderer. It took 26 minutes to kill Dennis McGuire, who raped and murdered a pregnant woman in 1989.

During the process, McGuire made sounds and movements that may have indicated he was in agony.

A combination of lethal drugs never used before was prepared for McGuire’s execution. That was necessary because the drugs used previously are no longer available.

Clearly, the new chemical mixture did not work as speedily and effectively as state officials had hoped. The duration and manner of McGuire’s death throes already have caused some, including his adult children, to term what happened “cruel and unusual punishment.”

That is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution, federal courts have held.

Obviously, the same chemicals cannot be used in another execution.

State officials need to find out what went wrong, then do their best – under the obvious constraints of the situation – to ensure it does not happen again.

Simple fairness dictates that if Ohio legislators enact a new tax on gas and oil drilling, counties providing the bounty should benefit more than other Buckeye State residents.

Lawmakers are considering increases in the state severance tax, of up to 2 percent on gas and oil produced from certain types of wells. The idea, first suggested by Gov. John Kasich, is to provide money for a statewide income tax reduction.

That is fine – providing it does not adversely affect Ohio’s ability to attract gas and oil drilling.

But before the $200 million a year expected to come from the tax is distributed, counties where wells are being drilled should get some of the money. Two Republican state representatives, Jay Hottinger of Newark and Al Landis of Dover, point out gas boom counties should be compensated for road damage and other expenses related to drilling

They are absolutely right. If legislators go forward with the tax, amendments suggested by Landis and Hottinger to benefit counties where wells are located – mostly in East Ohio, for now – should be adopted.