Back in 2010, the cruelty – and absurdity – of the death penalty was on full display when Brandon Rhode tried to commit suicide just days before he was to be executed by the state of Georgia. The state rushed him to the hospital and saved his life – only to execute him a week later.
The suicide attempt reportedly left Rhode brain damaged. He was shackled to a restraint chair for the next 7 days, and then the execution proceeded. The lethal injection may have been botched, as Rhode’s eyes remained open the entire time.
This weekend, Billy Slagle was found hanged in his cell on Ohio’s death row. Slagle died three days before the state of Ohio was to execute him. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has promised a “complete investigation.”
These appalling episodes should be enough to convince Ohio, Georgia, and the other 30 capital punishment states, that it is long past time to get out of the execution business.
Ohio, of course, is the state that in 2009, notoriously failed it its attempt to execute Romell Broom, trying for two miserable hours – and at times, with Broom’s assistance – to find a vein in which to inject the lethal drugs.
Romell Broom is still alive, Brandon Rhode was executed, and Billy Slagle died before he could be put to death. All were convicted of terrible crimes and were then subjected to shameful cruelties. There is no good reason why it has to be this way. These appalling episodes ought to be enough to convince Ohio, Georgia, and the other 30 capital punishment states, that it is long past time to get out of the execution business.