CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Killer Cooey is executed

LUCASVILLE, Ohio -- Richard Wade Cooey III was executed this morning, forever silencing his personal argument that lethal injection is a cruel and flawed process that can cause an agonizing death.

Cooey, 41, was pronounced dead at 10:28 a.m., only a few minutes after being injected with a lethal flow of three drugs at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.

"You (expletive) haven't paid any attention to anything I've said in the last 22 years, why would you pay any attention to anything I said now?" Cooey said with his final words

His execution came just over 22 years after Cooey and a juvenile friend abducted, raped and brutally murdered Wendy Jo Offredo, 21, and Dawn McCreery, 20. The two University of Akron coeds died in a deserted area near Norton, Ohio, an Akron suburb.

He was the first Ohioan put to death in 18 months following a prolonged national debate on lethal injection that ended earlier this year when the U.S. Supreme Court found it constitutional.

On his last night, Cooey ordered a last meal consisting of a T-bone steak with A-1 sauce, french fries and onion rings, four eggs over-easy, hash browns, buttered toast, bear claw pastries, a pint of Rocky Road ice cream and Mountain Dew to drink.

The prison waived its system-wide nonsmoking policy to allow him to smoke in his cell in the Death House.

The Ohio Supreme Court yesterday rejected Cooey's appeal that his execution should be delayed while the court considered his request to use a single massive dose of sodium thiopental, an anesthetic, to kill him instead of the three-drug cocktail used by Ohio and most all other states. The other drugs used are pancuronium bromide, which causes paralysis, and potassium chloride, which causes cardiac arrest.

Cooey based his appeal on a June ruling by Lorain County Common Pleas Court Judge James M. Burge's that the three-drug protocol could cause an "agonizing and painful death," rendering the process unconstitutional.

Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down that argument without comment, clearing the way for the execution. [Mark Godsey]

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