Former Governor Ted Strickland is officially joining the effort to repeal capital punishment, saying he regrets the way he handled Ohio’s death penalty while he was in office.
17 people were executed in Strickland’s four years in office. Strickland says he is glad that he put the death sentence aside for death row inmate Jeffrey Hill who Strickland continues to believe could be innocent. And he says Hill is likely not the only innocent man on death row.
“And it’s that reason, more than any other, I think we should eliminate the death penalty and I regret the fact that I hadn’t taken that position when I became governor," Strickland says.
He and Republican Senators Peggy Lehner and Kristina Roegner are all backing a bill from Democratic Sen. Nickie Antonio to replace the death penalty with life without parole. It’s a bill she’s introduced four times since 2011 but it has never gone anywhere. But this time, with even more bipartisan support, she's hoping the legislature will pass it.
Antonio says the death penalty is morally wrong, expensive, creates painful appeals for victims and is unequally and unfairly applied. And she says there is no way to correct mistakes.
"It's time for the state of Ohio to take the compassionate, pragmatic and economically prudent step to abolish the death penalty which has been found to be expensive, impractical, unjust, inhumane and frankly, often erroneous," Antonio says.
Gov. Mike DeWine has delayed all executions since taking office last year, saying he won't put access to medications for state programs at risk just to acquire lethal injection drugs. Manufacturers of those drugs had said they would consider stopping the sale of them to Ohio if the state continued to use them for executions.