Ohio governor delays 3 more executions while drugs reviewed

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has delayed three additional executions to give the state prison system time to develop a new lethal injection method.

The Republican governor's order Thursday follows a federal judge's scathing critique in January of the first drug used in the current process, the sedative midazolam (mih-DAY'-zoh-lam).

Federal Judge Michael Merz said inmates could suffer severe pain because the drug doesn't render them deeply enough unconscious.

DeWine delayed a February execution after the judge's ruling and ordered a new process developed. But Merz questioned why Ohio was preparing for additional executions given that directive.

DeWine said Thursday it was "highly unlikely" any new injection process would make it through expected lawsuits in time for the next three executions.

The decision delays executions scheduled for May, July and September.