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Lawyer Accused of Prompting Inmate to Feign Suffocation During Execution

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A criminal defense lawyer was accused of telling his client, an inmate on death row, to fake suffocation while receiving lethal injection. An investigation revealed that there was no evidence to support these claims. The accusations surfaced after prison guards reported overhearing a conversation in which Dennis McGuire, the inmate, allegedly said his lawyer told him to fake suffocation.

Ohio inmate Dennis McGuire, now deceased, was injected with a combination of drugs that had never been used before. His death took longer than expected and longer than is normal for these types of executions – approximately 26 minutes.

Those who were present at the time of McGuire's execution claimed that he was snorting and gasping for breath after injection. This and other recent lethal injection executions have caused some to call this method into question, and even suggest alternative forms of execution such as death by firing squad.

No one is denying that McGuire's attorney spoke with him prior to execution. This is standard practice. During these meetings, the attorney explains to the inmate what they should expect. According to Ohio Public Defender Tim Young, his probe into the situation found no wrongdoing on behalf of McGuire's attorney.