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December 9 2009 | UNITED STATES

USA

Ohio, Kenneth Biros executed by potion for animals. Rommel Broom, new, desperate appeal

 
printable version

ANSA

PENA MORTE: OHIO, PRIMO UCCISO CON VELENO PER ANIMALI PER ABC E' STATO CAVIA UMANA; NEL '91 STUPRO' E AMMAZZO' RAGAZZA

(di Marcello Campo) - WASHINGTON, 8 DIC - Ammazzato come un cane: un modo di dire ma che da oggi, negli StatI Uniti, e' anche una tragica realta' prevista dalla legge. Quarantatre' minuti dopo essere entrato nella camera della morte della prigione di Lucasville, in Ohio, e' deceduto Kenneth Biros, il primo uomo della storia americana ad essere giustiziato con un metodo usato sinora dai veterinari per sopprimere gli animali. Una notizia che compare nei siti web dei piu' importanti giornali americani, dal New York Times al Washington Post. E c'e' chi, come l'Abc News paragona la sua fine a quella di un porcellino d'India, l'animale usato come cavia nelle ricerche scientifiche.

Biros, un bianco di 51 anni, che nel '91 violento' e fece a pezzi una ragazza di 22 anni, e' stato ucciso con un'iniezione endovenosa di Thiopental sodium, un potente anestetico. Si tratta di un metodo assolutamente nuovo che l'Ohio ha adottato alcune settimane fa, dopo aver accantonato l'iniezione letale, il cocktail di tre veleni, in uso in 36 stati, dalle forze armate americane e dallo stesso governo degli stati Uniti. Lo stato del Midwest ha scelto di cambiare in seguito alla drammatica vicenda di Rommell Brown, un altro condannato a morte dell'Ohio a cui, qualche mese fa, il boia non riusci' a trovare le vene, dopo diciotto tentativi in piu' di due ore e mezza.

Quell'esecuzione fu sospesa e in tutto il Paese si scateno' la protesta contro un sistema che, secondo gli abolizionisti, e' incostituzionale per la sua ''crudelta'''. La Corte dell'Ohio ha quindi optato per una sorta di overdose di anestetico, in grado di addormentare il condannato e quindi provocarne la morte in uno stato di incoscienza. Tuttavia, sino alla fine i legali di Biros hanno cercato di rinviare l'esecuzione sostenendo, in un ricorso alla Corte, che il nuovo metodo non era stato ancora sperimentato sul corpo umano. I media americani hanno fornito ogni dettaglio su come il condannato a morte ha trascorso le sue ultime ore. Ieri sera, dopo aver mangiato una pizza e un po' di gelato, Biros ha ascoltato i suoi Cd di meditazione, ha visto un po' di tv, quindi si e' addormentato alle 3 e mezza del mattino. Stamane, dopo aver ricevuto i suoi consiglieri spirituali, due buddisti e un sacerdote cattolico, ha fatto la comunione, ha salutato per l'ultima volta la madre, le due sorelle e un fratellastro e ha lasciato la cella per raggiungere il lettino del boia. La sua ultima richiesta, indossare una sciarpa bianca, simbolo buddista di purezza e felicita', e' stata rifiutata dai suoi carcerieri, che pero' gli hanno permesso di portarla con se'. All'esecuzione di Biros hanno assistito i suoi parenti piu' stretti, la famiglia della ragazza che lui ha violentato, ucciso e fatto a pezzi e una decina di giornalisti. Ma nonostante la novita' dell'iniezione a base di un solo farmaco, anche stavolta non sono mancati i contrattempi: l'avvocato di Biros ha riferito che il boia ha dovuto fare ben nove tentativi prima di trovare la vena di Biros. Un particolare che alimentera' nuove polemiche.

Con la morte di Biros, informa il sito del Death Penalty Information Center, le vittime della pena capitale negli Stati Uniti, dal 1976 a oggi, salgono a 1188. La sua esecuzione e' la cinquantesima del 2009

Da oggi l'Ohio e' il primo stato ad aver accantonato il cocktail letale, composto da tre sostanze, che prima addormentano, poi paralizzano e quindi ammazzano il condannato, metodo tuttora adottato da 36 stati e dalle forze armate americane e dallo stesso governo degli Stati Uniti. Lo stato del Midwest ha scelto questo cambiamento dopo il caso di Rommell Brown, un altro condannato a morte dell'Ohio a cui, qualche mese fa, il boia non riusci' a trovare le vene, dopo diciotto tentativi in piu' di due ore e mezza.

 

Reuters

Ohio executes inmate with untried injection method

By Jim Leckrone

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec 8 - Ohio put to death a convicted killer on Tuesday with a single dose of a lethal chemical, the first time the method has been used in the United States.

Kenneth Biros, 51, convicted of the 1991 murder of a woman, was pronounced dead nine minutes after receiving an injection of the anesthetic sodium thiopental at the Southern Ohio Correction Facility in Lucasville, a prison spokeswoman said.

Prison spokeswoman Julie Walburn said the execution proceeded without any problems. Executioners, however, made nine attempts before finding a vein to inject Biros with the drug, commonly known as Sodium Pentothal.

"Sorry from the bottom of my heart," Biros said in the death chamber before the execution was carried out. Witnesses said he blinked a few times and then appeared dead.

Ohio's new method replaced a faster-acting three-drug cocktail commonly used in the United States and was put in place to try to end a lawsuit that charged the cocktail, which also starts with Sodium Pentothal, could cause pain.

Ohio's method is similar to how animals are euthanized. Biros' lawyer called the untested process "experimentation," but courts rejected the inmate's appeals.

NEW PROTOCOL

Executions were temporarily put on hold in Ohio in September after executioners tried unsuccessfully for two hours to find a suitable vein to inject inmate Rommel Broom, jabbing him repeatedly. Broom remains on death row.

Under the new protocol, if a suitable vein is not located for the single injection, executioners will inject two potent painkillers -- hydromorphone and midazolam -- into the muscles of the inmate's arm, leg or buttocks.

The two drugs, administered in high doses, halt breathing.

Fordham University Law Professor Deborah Denno, an expert on lethal injection, said there were serious problems with the new single-drug method, including the difficulties executioners can have finding a vein.

She said the backup plan could lead to a "slow, lingering death with the inmate in a state of confusion, disorientation, and intense psychological anguish and torment."

An unofficial seven-month moratorium on U.S. executions ended in April 2008 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled lethal injection was not cruel and unusual punishment. The three-drug method employs a sedative to cause unconsciousness, a second drug to paralyze the body and a third to stop the heart.

The execution marked the second time in three years Ohio has revised the method. Lethal injection was questioned in 2006 after a man who was supposed to be unconscious suddenly struggled and said the drugs were not working.

Ohio then created a "set-to-die" revision requiring the warden to call out the condemned man's name and shake and pinch his shoulder to ensure unconsciousness after the sedative was administered.

Biros was the 51st person executed in the United States in 2009 and the fifth in Ohio this year.

He was convicted of strangling to death Tami Engstrom, 22, to whom he had offered a ride from a bar. Biros also raped, beat, and stabbed his victim 91 times before disemboweling her and scattering the body parts across two states.

Biros requested a last meal of cheese pizza, onion rings and fried mushrooms, chips with French onion dip, cherry pie, blueberry ice cream and a Dr. Pepper soft drink.

 

AP

Ohio killer asks judge to stop 2nd execution try

COLUMBUS, Ohio _ A day after Ohio became the first state in the country to use a single drug in a lethal injection, the condemned killer whose botched September execution prompted the change from a three-drug method returns to court to argue that another try to put him to death would be unconstitutional.

A federal judge was to hear arguments beginning Wednesday on whether the state, having bungled inmate Romell Broom's execution Sept. 15, should be prevented on constitutional grounds from a second attempt.

Following that execution try, which U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost has labeled a «debacle,» the state changed its execution methods to one intravenous drug with a backup method involving intramuscular injection.

On Tuesday morning, the state executed killer Kenneth Biros with one dose of thiopental sodium in the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. Biros, 51, became the first inmate in the country to be executed with one drug. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Biros' final appeal earlier Tuesday.

The state switched its execution methods with two goals: to end a 5-year-old lawsuit claiming that Ohio's three-drug system was capable of causing severe pain and to create a backup procedure if the first one didn't work.

That backup plan, untested on U.S. inmates, allows a two-drug injection into muscle if a usable vein cannot be found. That did not become necessary in Biros' case.

The only case similar to the botched Broom execution happened in Louisiana in 1946, when a first attempt to execute Willie Francis did not work. Francis was returned to death row for nearly a year while the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether a second electrocution would be unconstitutional.

The court ultimately ruled 5-4 against Francis, and he was put to death in 1947.

However, Justice Felix Frankfurter, a swing vote in the court's decision, said a different set of facts could have led to a different decision. Those facts could include «a series of abortive attempts at electrocution,» he wrote.

Broom, 53, said he was stuck with needles at least 18 times, the pain so intense he cried and screamed out. His attorneys say it would constitute cruel and unusual punishment for the state to try again and would violate Broom's double jeopardy rights, punishing him twice for the same crime.

«What happened to Broom on September 15, 2009, at defendants' hands and under their direction was inhuman and barbarous,» Broom's attorneys, Timothy Sweeney and Adele Shank, argued after the execution attempt. «It should not be permitted to happen again.»

Broom was sentenced to die for the rape and slaying of 14-year-old Tryna Middleton in Cleveland in September 1984.

The state opposes canceling a second try, saying Broom's execution was carried out according to the protocols then in place.

«There is no evidence that Broom suffered pain of such severity as to rise to the level of severe pain prohibited by the Eighth Amendment,» Assistant Attorney General Charles Wille argued last month.

Gov. Ted Strickland stopped Broom's execution and issued a one-week reprieve, which was extended. One of the first issues before Frost is a request by the state to keep Strickland from testifying about his decision.

 

EFE

El estado de Ohio ajusticia al primer reo con una nueva inyección letal

Washington, 8 dic - Kenneth Biros, de 51 años, fue ejecutado hoy en el estado de Ohio por asesinar y descuartizar a una joven de 22 años en 1991, y se convirtió así en el primer reo en ser ajusticiado con una nueva inyección letal que utiliza sólo un compuesto.

La ejecución de Kenneth Biros, originalmente prevista para las 10.00 hora local (15.00 GMT) en el penal de Lucasville, noroeste del estado, se retrasó alrededor de una hora, mientras esperaban la resolución del Tribunal Supremo al que había apelado su abogado.

Finalmente, el prisionero recibió la inyección letal después de que la Corte de Apelaciones y el Tribunal Supremo de EE.UU.

rechazaran la petición de su abogado, Timothy Sweeney, de aplazar la condena por considerar que se trataba de un "experimento".

Este nuevo procedimiento utiliza una única dosis de tiopentato de sodio, un potente anestésico, en sustitución de los tres compuestos empleados en el protocolo habitual (un anestésico, pancorio para paralizar los músculos y potasio para detener el corazón), que en ocasiones ha causado problemas.

Sin embargo, algunos expertos advirtieron que este nuevo método, parecido al que se utiliza para practicar la eutanasia a los animales, prolongaría el tiempo de muerte del reo.

Según una portavoz del penal, Julie Walburn, el Departamento de Rehabilitación y Correccionales había calculado que podría tardar entre 15 y 30 minutos más, pero tenían previsto un protocolo para aplicarle una inyección intramuscular con una dosis masiva de otros dos productos para provocarle la muerte.

El reo recibió el lunes la visita de su madre, su hermano y sus dos hermanas y como última comida pidió una pizza con extra de queso, cebollas, champiñones y pimientos verdes, así como aros de cebolla y champiñones con ketchup, Doritos con salsa, y de postre un pastel de cereza y helado de arándanos.

El estado de Ohio ha ejecutado a 32 personas desde 1999.

Biros fue condenado por el asesinato en 1991 de Tami Engstrom, de 22 años, a la que descuartizó para diseminar su cuerpo en los estados de Pensilvania y Ohio, con el objetivo de que no fuera encontrado.

Durante el juicio, Biros admitió haber sido el autor del asesinato, pero señaló que lo había cometido bajo los efectos del alcohol.

Los abogados del condenado presentaron un recurso en el que señalaron que Biros había sido condenado a muerte por un delito que no merecía el máximo castigo.

En 2007 el Supremo ordenó aplazar su ejecución después de que los abogados del condenado presentaran un recurso en el que afirmaban que la inyección letal es un castigo cruel.

En septiembre pasado tuvo que ser aplazada en este mismo penal la ejecución de Romell Broom, de 53 años, a quien sus verdugos no pudieron hallarle la vena donde aplicar la inyección letal.

El caso de Broom planteó dudas respecto al método de la inyección letal, incluyendo la competencia de quienes se encargan de aplicarla.

La ejecución de Broom, que fue condenado a muerte por la violación y asesinato a puñaladas de una estudiante de 14 años en 1984, había comenzado, pero fue frenada porque, según fuentes del penal, fue imposible encontrar la vena del brazo izquierdo.

El problema recordó también la ejecución de Joseph Clark en 2006, que fue demorada más de una hora debido a problemas para insertar la aguja.

Los encargados del penal de Lucasville tuvieron dificultades similares un año después con la ejecución de Christopher Newton, que se tuvo que retrasar dos horas.

De momento no se han reportado problemas a la hora de llevar a cabo la ejecución de Biros.

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