DEATH PENALTY HALTED
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A judge has issued a moratorium on the death penalty in Ohio. The move comes after complications during the January execution of Dennis McGuire.
The state made changes to its execution procedures after it took 26 minutes for McGuire to die.
Now a US District Court Judge says until legal issues around those changes are worked out, Ohio cannot be in the business of executions.
It was decades ago, but it's a day Chris Stout will never forget.
"May 14th, 1984," Stout said. "My dad let two perpetrators in the house to make a phone call. That's when they decided to shoot my mom, shoot my dad."
His father survived, his mother did not. "When I lost my mom, I lost it all," he said.
John David Stumpf was convicted of murdering Mary Jane Stout, and sentenced to death. But 30 years later, Stumpf is still alive.
"We just got authorization from the state Supreme Court to set a date," said Stout.
He calls Wednesday’s news of a hold on any executions in the state came an unwelcome surprise.
"They need to get different judges in there," he said. "They need to stop this lifetime judgeship we'll call it. Because they do whatever they want."
He says the concern for the wellbeing of convicted killers is misplaced.
"When people start feeling sorry for a guy just because it took him 24 minutes to die...no," he said. "Let’s look at how they killed their victims."
"Basically the judge, I think, is saying, ‘We're not going to execute anyone until we're sure we are doing this right,’" said Columbus defense attorney Adam Nemann.
He calls the death penalty "barbaric," and says what happened with Dennis McGuire, and other problematic executions, raise important questions that must be examined.
"I think it has really swayed a lot of minds regarding whether we should be doing this as a state-sponsored, sanctioned activity."
Prosecutors have requested an execution date for John David Stumpf, but that has not yet been set.
In the meantime, the Judge's moratorium stands until August 15th, forcing two scheduled executions to be postponed.