Challenge to Ohio death penalty process goes to trial


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Attorneys for death row inmates and lawyers for Ohio’s prisons agency are back in court in the latest challenge to the way the state puts convicted killers to death.

The four-day trial began Tuesday in federal court in Dayton. It focuses on Ohio’s updated execution process and a new three-drug method similar to one used years ago.

Some testimony before Magistrate Judge Michael Merz will come from members of Ohio’s execution team. They will not be named and will answer questions while sitting behind courtroom screens.

The state defends the new process as constitutional. Defense attorneys say multiple problems remain with the way Ohio prepares and carries out executions.

The state plans to execute Ronald Phillips on Feb. 15 for the rape and death of a child.

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This story has been updated to correct that the trial is being held in Dayton.

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