Ohio Executes Inmate With Dementia and No Memory of Crime

Ohio today executed Daniel Bedford with pentobarbital, a drug used to euthanize animals, that may or may not be effective in blocking pain.

Bedford's attorneys say because of dementia and mental disability, he has no memory of the crime and may not understand he is being put to death.
There apparently were problems finding a vein, requiring him to be "stuck" several times. [More...]

Prison staff had appeared to have some difficulty inserting the IVs into one arm, prompting an attorney witnessing the execution to leave the witness room to call a colleague with concerns about how many times Bedford's arm had been poked. She also shouted to Bedford through the glass viewing window and asked if there were problems. He replied that he'd been poked several times.

Bedford did have family present.

Bedford, in glasses and a short gray beard, declined to give a formal final statement but yelled "I love you" to his adult daughter, Michelle Connor, who was in the witness room and shouted back, "I love you, Daddy" after he had climbed onto a gurney. He also called out to witness Kristi Schulenberg, a friend and pen pal with whom he had kept in touch since the mid-1990s. She said she loved him, too.

Prison authorities claim Bedford knew he was going to die.

Bedford told mental health staff early Tuesday morning that he understood he would die and was preparing himself, a state prisons spokesman said.

The Supreme Court refused a stay earlier today.

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    "There apparently were problems (none / 0) (#1)
    by NYShooter on Tue May 17, 2011 at 06:16:43 PM EST
    finding a vein requiring him to be "stuck" several times."

    I hope they swabbed each attempt thoroughly; germs are everywhere.

    effect of these claims (none / 0) (#2)
    by diogenes on Tue May 17, 2011 at 07:39:32 PM EST
         Someone whose memory is so impaired that he cannot register and retain it when he is told that he is about to be executed is someone who is profoundly impaired.  Bedford did register and retain the memory that he had been "poked several times".  Although he may have "forgotten" the crime due to his "dementia" he did manage to remember and greet a pen pal he had obtained in the mid-1990's, ten years after he committed the murders.
         One of local roles is finessing the local DA into offering Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity pleas instead of trying to use juries to railroad people into state prison.  The DA's have to deal with aggrieved victims and the law and order crowd who are worse than me (believe it or not).  When every death case ultimately devolves into "He's demented, has a low IQ, and/or is too delusional to be executed" as a last resort for the final Supreme Court appeal, it makes psychiatrists look like dupes of the defense attorneys. It also makes it that much harder for me to talk the DA into letting a violent but psychotic guy with prior prison terms be released in the community on NGRI status instead of going back to state prison for ten years.
         Why not just devote all these resources to freeing the innocent on death row and to repealing the death penalty as a whole?  

    You don't think his 'dementia' (none / 0) (#3)
    by Harry Saxon on Tue May 17, 2011 at 07:52:30 PM EST
    was organic, doc?

    State-sanctioned first-degree murder (none / 0) (#4)
    by mjames on Tue May 17, 2011 at 08:22:33 PM EST
    with a heaping side of cruel and unusual punishment, what with that minor mishap in finding a vein. I don't know which is worse: he was totally aware he was being killed or he was unaware. If he was aware, then the errors and delay are horrific; if he was not aware, then we're in the business of killing mentally incompetent individuals. They have no other right, I guess, except the right to be killed by the state.

    We have become that which we pretend to abhor: murderers.

    What Irks Me (none / 0) (#5)
    by ScottW714 on Tue May 17, 2011 at 09:25:30 PM EST
    I am no fan of the death penalty, but this business of killing someone humanely to pay for a crime is beyond ridiculous.  

    The theory seems to go something like this, the person is so evil we must end their existence, yet we can not cause any undo pain in the process.  It's punishment, who acres if they suffer, isn't that the point of punishment.  To me there is no more inhumane punishment then taking ones life.

    The jabs and innuendos about the actual process before the death only further the notion that humanity should be somehow a part of the process, or worse, the taking of a life is somehow humane because they aren't actually suffering.

    To me, if you want to stop the death penalty, start demanding the guillotine or public hangings, something more representative of the act occurring, don't try and decoy it with peaceful death.  As it stands, assisted suicide and executions are the same peaceful process, when in reality they are polar opposites and the method used should reflect that.

    The hope being society would see it for what it really is, barbaric.

    And the American (none / 0) (#6)
    by Chuck0 on Wed May 18, 2011 at 07:55:31 AM EST
    barbarity continues.