Death Penalty

Probe finds no evidence lawyer coached condemned inmate to fake suffocation during execution

An investigation has not found any wrongdoing by a criminal defense lawyer claimed to have coached his now-executed client to fake symptoms of suffering as he was put to death.

Ohio Public Defender Tim Young told colleagues of Rob Lowe in an internal memo that a probe found “no wrongdoing” by the assistant state public defender in his representation of Dennis McGuire. The investigation was sparked by prison guards’ claims that they overheard conversations in which McGuire said shortly before being executed that he had been urged by a defense lawyer to feign symptoms of suffocation after a lethal drug cocktail was administered, the Columbus Dispatch reports. News of the claimed conversations was relayed to Young by a lawyer in the Ohio governor’s office.

During McGuire’s execution earlier this month, which reportedly took longer than usual, he snorted and gasped. He was put to death with a mixture of drugs that had not been used before.

It is standard practice for lawyers in the state public defender’s office to go over with clients what will happen when they are put to death. However, Young told the newspaper no one had coached McGuire to fake symptoms. “Absolutely not,” he said. “We would never in any way try to corrupt this process or ask our client to feign any symptoms.”

See also: “Convicted killer snorts and gasps during execution; is society too ‘namby pamby’?”

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