May 27, 2016

Mostly sunny

Humorous tome on executions won`t be entered as evidence

ELYRIA — County Common Pleas Judge James Burge won’t be allowing defense attorneys trying to convince him to declare the state’s lethal injection process unconstitutional to enter into evidence a book that details execution methods throughout history.

But Kreig Brusnahan, an attorney for Ruben Rivera, one of two accused killers fighting the possibility of execution, said he still intends to give the book to Assistant County Prosecutor Tony Cillo.

The book, “What a Way to Go: The Guillotine, the Pendulum, the Thousand Cuts, the Spanish Donkey, and 66 Other Ways of Putting Someone to Death,” by Geoffrey Abbott, takes a black humor approach to examining various capital punishments.

Brusnahan said he will give Cillo the book as part of a large packet of information that Cillo requested on humane ways to carry out executions from Jeff Gamso, legal director of the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Brusnahan said he never expected the book to actually be used as evidence in a hearing Burge plans to hold later this year on whether the three-drug cocktail used in Ohio and other states to execute condemned inmates is cruel and unusual.

Burge said he doesn’t plan to read the book himself.

“It may be interesting reading, but it’s not evidence,” he said.

Last year, the state reluctantly turned over detailed records on its execution process. Defense experts are now examining that information for the hearing.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or