Jeffrey Wogenstahl was told late on Friday that his execution date has been postponed by nearly 10 months, from January 21 2016 to November 16 2016. Six other Ohio death row inmates were informed that their 2015 execution dates had been postponed until 2016, leaving 2015 free of executions.
The rescheduling, based on reprieves from Governor John Kasich, followed an announcement three weeks earlier that Ohio’s lethal-injection protocol was to change. The previous protocol became controversial after Dennis McGuire took an unusually long time to die during an execution in January 2014. The state will now have 2015 to establish a new execution policy and look for supplies of new drugs.
However, it remains to be seen whether Ohio can obtain the drugs that it has named, viz. sodium thiopental and pentobarbital:
“Death penalty experts question where Ohio would find supplies of thiopental sodium, saying it’s no longer available in the U.S. and overseas imports would run afoul of importing bans.”
The state also can’t obtain compounded pentobarbital. A law that was enacted last month shielding the names of companies providing drugs was aimed at finding drug makers willing to provide pentobarbital.”
For Jeff’s friends and supporters the postponed execution date is wonderful – it means enjoying his company for ten months more. Jeff himself has mixed feelings: the prospect of an extra ten months on death row is daunting. But that time may also allow his attorneys to set out his story more forcefully. And that, ultimately, is what matters.