During the more than "fifteens minutes it appeared to take him to die," the man Ohio executed on Thursday "made several loud snorting or snoring sounds" and "appeared to gasp" for air before succumbing to a controversial narcotic injection never before tried.
According to the Associated Press, the killing of convicted murderer Dennis McGuire was "one of the longest executions since Ohio resumed capital punishment in 1999" which came after unsuccessful efforts by his lawyers to challenge use of the new drug combination.
As AP reports: "McGuire's lawyers had argued that he was at substantial risk of a medical phenomenon known as air hunger, which would cause him to experience terror as he strains to catch his breath."
Defending the state's right to use the drugs, the prosecutor fighting an appeal by his lawyers told a court judge that McGuire was "not entitled to a pain-free execution." The judge agreed in his ruling and said that because the state could not obtain the traditional drug used for lethal injections, prison officials were "free to innovate."
The Supreme Court on Wednesday had refused McGuire's final appeal for a stay of execution.