Ohio Governor Postpones Two Executions, Citing Problems with Pharmaceutical Suppliers

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) issued reprieves of execution on Friday to Antonio Sanchez Franklin and Stanley Fitzpatrick, citing “ongoing problems” with obtaining needed substances from pharmaceutical companies.

The now-43-year-old Franklin was scheduled to receive a lethal injection next January 12; his execution is now scheduled to take place next February 11. The convict murdered his grandparents, 71-year-old Ophelia and 76-year-old Ivory, as well as his 38-year-old uncle, Anthony, in Dayton in 1997 and then set their house on fire. Franklin was 18 at the time of the crimes. 

Investigators attributed Ophelia’s death to either the gunshot wound Antonio inflicted or the baseball bat he wielded and also used to attack Ivory and Anthony. The two male victims’ deaths were found attributable to blunt force trauma and smoke inhalation. In post-arrest conversation with detectives, Antonio accused his three elders of abusing him. 

Fitzpatrick’s execution was to take place next February 15 but is now to occur on April 16. In 2001, he killed his girlfriend Doreatha Hayes, her 12-year-old daughter, Shenay, and their neighbor Elton Rose with a hatchet. Fitzpatrick also attempted to murder a police officer while fleeing the scene.

The last person put to death by the state of Ohio was Robert Van Hook in July 2018. Since taking office the following year, DeWine stayed all executions in response to a federal judge questioning the humaneness of the state’s injection method and because intravenous-drug manufacturers have declined to supply the state Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

In the last few months, legislative momentum has grown for repeal of the Buckeye State’s death penalty law. State Senators Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City) announced in February they were authoring an abolition bill. 

Commenting on the possibility of repeal at the time, DeWine said his once-supportive view of capital punishment “has certainly evolved,” though he did not expressly embrace Antonio and Huffman’s effort. In months prior, owing to the refusal of drug companies to cooperate, the governor called executions “impossible from a practical point of view today.” 

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Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Ohio Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Mike DeWine” by Governor Mike DeWine.

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