Father Lawrence Hummer had been told the lethal injection of Dennis McGuire would probably take about five minutes. Just about that much time had passed when something ghastly happened.
“He started struggling for breath,” said Hummer, who knew McGuire from masses he celebrated for Ohio’s Catholic death-row prisoners and volunteered to be a witness at his January 2014 execution.
“I was trying to calm his children down when all of a sudden I heard audible gagging. I thought it was another witness, but when I looked back to [McGuire], he was the one gagging,” Hummer said. “Your instinct is to help or stop it, but of course nobody could do a thing.”