Ohio’s first execution in three years scheduled for Wednesday morning

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows death row inmate Ronald Phillips, convicted of the 1993 rape and murder of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter in Akron, Ohio. (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction via AP, File)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – It’s been more than three years since an Ohio inmate was put to death. In less than 24 hours, condemned child killer Ronald Phillips will be the first to be executed since the death penalty was put on hold back in 2014.

On Tuesday, Phillips was moved to the so-called “death house” in Lucasville, awaiting his execution Wednesday morning at 10am.

Opponents of the death penalty said it’s an unfair, broken system, but experts said it’s unlikely the Supreme Court will intervene.

“I think the failure of the death penalty has been proven so many times that it’s beyond debate at this point,” said director of the Ohio Public Defender’s Office Tim Young.

His attorneys are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court for a review of the case.

In a brief filed late Tuesday, attorneys for Phillips say his circumstances at the time of the murder led him to be treated like a much younger person. They say his case “calls out” for further review by the high court.

Phillips was 19 at the time of the killing.

His attorneys say he was a teenager “with such obvious psychosocial deficits” that when police picked him up at school they took him to the department’s juvenile bureau instead of the adult facility.

He said the death penalty is unfair and rarely imposed on the worst of the worst.

“We can’t seem to carry it out very successfully without engaging in behaviors that we have condemned people for, horrible pain and suffering during the killing process,” said Young. “That’s why we’re killing them. We’re supposed to be better than that.”

Phillips has asked the U.S. Supreme Court for more time to appeal Ohio’s lethal injection method.

On Monday, fifteen pharmacology professors argued that the sedative used in the process is incapable of inducing unconsciousness, carrying too high of a risk of preventing severe pain.

Phillips also argued he shouldn’t die because he was only 19 when he committed his crimes.

“As a whole, we are feeling incredibly saddened and depressed that we are going to re-engage in a process that we know fails and we have done zero to fix,” said Young.

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