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Antonio Appalled by Rush to Revive Death Penalty

January 30, 2024
Nickie J. Antonio News

Today, Senate Democratic Leader Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) responded to Attorney General Dave Yost and House Republicans’ push to introduce a new, unproven method of executions in Ohio.

“There is no humane form of execution in 2024,” said Antonio. “It is unfortunate that anyone would rush to the nearest camera to plead for the introduction of experimental methods to resume the barbaric practice. The state of Alabama has resurrected its death penalty procedures using nitrogen gas, a method so unconscionable that veterinarians reject its use to euthanize animals. Ohio should show moral leadership and reject the death penalty outright rather than fall in line with this misguided policy.” 

Nitrogen hypoxia is an execution method in which death is caused by forcing an inmate to breathe only nitrogen. Only one state, Alabama, has put an inmate to death by this cruel, experimental method. The American Veterinary Medical Association said in official guidance that the use of nitrogen hypoxia is a “distressing” and unacceptable form of euthanasia for most mammals. In 2023, Airgas, an industrial gas distributor, announced its opposition and refused to supply nitrogen for executions. 

“Alabama proved to be a pioneer in a ghastly, cruel human experiment that dragged on for over 20 minutes, including several horrible minutes of the inmate fighting for his life against restraints,” said Antonio. “We must be better as a society than our most heinous criminals. The legislature should reject any schemes to bring back executions and instead move Ohio forward by passing Senate Bill 101 to abolish the death penalty.”

The majority of Ohioans support outlawing capital punishment. Senate Bill 101 would abolish the death penalty in Ohio and instead pursue life without parole for capital crimes. Senate Bill 101 has bipartisan support with joint sponsor Senator Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City) and cosponsorship from more than one-third of the Ohio Senate, including Senators Blessing (R-Cincinnati), Craig (D-Columbus), DeMora (D-Columbus), Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo), Ingram (D-Cincinnati), Lang (R-West Chester), Reynolds (R-Canal Winchester), Roegner (R-Hudson), Smith (D-Euclid), and Sykes (D-Akron)

Senate Bill 101 awaits further hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee.