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A call for Ohio's leader to witness state executions

A call for Ohio's leader to witness state executions

COLUMBUS, Ohio  -- A state lawmaker thinks the governor should personally witness every execution the state carries out.

Rep. Robert Hagan, a Democrat from Youngstown, opposes capital punishment, but he says if we're going to have it he thinks the person that has the ability to stop it should be there in person.

"You should be able to see that this individual is now going to die because you just did not allow it to stop," he said.

The death penalty has come under fire after the execution of Dennis McGuire. He was the first in the state to be put to death using an untried combination of two drugs. It was one of the longest executions since the state again began carrying them out in 1999.

Hagan admits the bill has virtually no chance of getting through the Republican-controlled General Assembly. If it did, it would require not only the governor attend, but the director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction as well.

Hagan says he's talked with inmates in prison who say all they think about is getting out, yet they have no chance.

"That is certainly much more of a punishment than allowing them to end their life as they so choose because of capital punishment," said Hagan.

Gov. John Kasich is on a secure phone line with the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville during executions. His predecessors, Gov. Bob Taft and Gov. Ted Strickland, were also on the phone.

"That phone issue is - as a false promise of attendance, I think it's utterly ridiculous," Hagan said.

While Hagan says he's anti-death penalty, he makes it clear that shouldn't be seen as him defending the actions of the condemned inmates.

"Of course the crimes that they committed are horrible. Of course I have no sympathy for those individuals and if that happened to my family I'd jump at them any chance that I got, but that's not who we are as a society," he said.

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