Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Execution of killer who boasted how he made victim suffer is delayed due to lethal injection drug shortage

His execution was schedule for December 11, that's now 'highly unlikely'

David Maclean
New York
Saturday 26 October 2019 14:26 BST
Execution of killer who boasted how he made victim suffer is delayed due to lethal injection drug shortage

A prisoner who killed his cellmate with a makeshift knife, and a padlock in a sock, has had his execution delayed because Ohio has run out of lethal injection drugs.

James Galen Hanna, 65, boasted that he made cellmate Peter Copas, 43, “suffer pretty good” after stabbing him in the eye with a modified paintbrush before beating him for two hours.

He was scheduled to be killed by the state on December 11, but now Ohio’s governor says this will be ‘highly unlikely’.

Mike DeWine says drug manufacturers will likely cut off supplies of medication to state agencies if they think their drugs will be used as part of the capital punishment process.

Executions in the state have already been hit by delays after DeWine paused them over concerns about the constitutionality of the first pharmaceutical used in the three-drug method of killing.

The sedative midazolam has been used in several problematic executions. Critics say it doesn't render inmates deeply unconscious enough.

Hanna was serving a life sentence for the murder of a convenience store worker when he killed Copas - who was serving a sentence for the corruption of a minor - at Lebanon Correctional Institution in 1997.

In a subsequent letter to another inmate after the killing, he called his victim a “maggot baby-raper-killer” and bragged of the suffering he inflicted.

“He lived for twenty-and-a-half hours after (the stabbing) before he croaked,” he wrote.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in