National Black Church Initiative Says Churchgoers 'Morally Outraged' Over Dennis McGuire's 'Brutal' Execution

The National Black Church Initiative said churchgoers are "morally outraged" at the "brutal" execution of convicted Ohio murderer Dennis McGuire, who last week choked for 10 minutes before dying following the injection of an untested combination of chemicals.

"The manner in which Ohio chose to experiment on this human being speaks to the baseless ethical character of Governor Kasich and his administration. The State of Ohio has committed murder without mercy. The universal Christian church loves all of God's children and believes wholeheartedly in mercy and forgiveness," said the Rev. Anothony Evans, president of NBCI, in a statement on Monday. NBCI says that it represents 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African-American churchgoers.

"Evil is the only appropriate word to describe the agonizing death of Mr. McGuire. We will not have any part of the State of Ohio brutally murdering God's children, though they will in the end have to answer to God."

McGuire, 53, is believed to have suffered from a rare medical phenomenon known as an "air hunger" during the execution on Thursday. Found guilty of the 1989 rape and murder of newlywed Joy Stewart, he became the first U.S. inmate to be executed using the untested cocktail of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a morphine derivative.

Reports note that the convict gasped for air, snorted and choked for 10 of the 14 minutes he took to officially die. NBCI noted that this was the longest execution in the history of Ohio's capital punishment since it resumed 15 years ago.

Opinions have been split on the nature and manner of McGuire's death. One of his attorneys, federal public defender Allen Bohnert, argued that the execution was a "failed, agonizing experiment by the state of Ohio."

"The people of the state of Ohio should be appalled by what was done in their name," Bohnert added.

The family of McGuire's victim, however, reminded citizens, that 22-year-old Stewart was 30-weeks pregnant when she was removed from her car, raped and stabbed in Preble County, western Ohio in 1989.

"There has been a lot of controversy regarding the drugs that are to be used in his execution, concern that he might feel terror, that he might suffer. As I recall the events preceding her death, forcing her from the car, attempting to rape her vaginally, sodomizing her, choking her, stabbing her, I know she suffered terror and pain. He is being treated far more humanely than he treated her," the Stewart family said in a statement.

NBCI stated that it continues expressing "love and compassion" for McGuire's victims and all those affected, but affirmed its stance against capital punishment.

"Life in prison without the chance of being paroled is the most humane and ethical of dealing with someone who has committed such a hideous crime," NBCI added.

Currently, 32 U.S. states allow for the death penalty, while 18 do not. An October 2013 Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans, or 60 percent, are in favor of the death penalty, though that is the lowest support it has received in over 40 years.

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