Ohio put a child killer to death Wednesday, carrying out the state’s first execution after a 3.5-year delay and signaling the possible resumption of capital punishment in the state. Ronald Phillips, 43, was executed by lethal injection without any of the complications that marred the state’s last execution and caused Ohio’s governor to put a pause on scheduled executions. Phillips was sentenced to die for the 1993 rape and killing of Sheila Marie Evans, his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter. His chin and chest moved slightly and he breathed heavily while the lethal drugs were administered at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. Prison officials gave Phillips’ time of death as 10:43am, about 10 minutes after he gave his final statement, saying, “Sheila Marie didn’t deserve what I did to her.”
He apologized to the girl’s family: “I’m sorry you had to live so long with my actions.” The girl’s half sister says it was the first apology they’d heard from Phillips, reports the AP. The death penalty had been on hold in Ohio since January 2014, when a condemned man repeatedly gasped and snorted during a 26-minute procedure with a never-before-tried drug combo. Gov. John Kasich halted upcoming executions after that, and delays have continued because the state had trouble finding new supplies of drugs; that changed in October. Phillips and other death row inmates unsuccessfully fought the state’s new execution method that includes a sedative, midazolam, used in some troubled executions elsewhere. The other drugs are rocuronium bromide, which paralyzes inmates, and potassium chloride, which stops their hearts.