State Briefs

Execution leader wondered about inmate’s lengthy death

DAYTON (AP) — The leader of Ohio’s execution team testified that he’d never seen anything like the lengthy 2014 death of a condemned inmate.

The man testifying anonymously in federal court as Team Member No. 10 said he “was wondering what was going on” during the execution of Dennis McGuire in January 2014.

The Dayton Daily News reports ( ) the man also said in Tuesday testimony the execution affected him like no other.

Federal Magistrate Judge Michael Merz in Dayton is hearing evidence in the weeklong trial over Ohio’s newest lethal injection method.

McGuire repeatedly gasped and snorted during the 26 minutes it took him to die, the longest execution since Ohio resumed putting inmates to death in 1999.

Ohio plans its first execution in three years next month.

Ohio 1st state to ban plywood on vacant properties

COLUMBUS — Boarded-up property will no longer be synonymous with blight in Ohio.

With the governor’s signature Wednesday, the state became the first to outlaw the use of plywood on abandoned and vacant properties.

The prohibition was tucked into one of 28 bills signed by Republican John Kasich (KAY’-sik).

It’s a boon for a practice known as clear boarding, which has been catching on around the country. Fannie Mae, the federal government-sponsored mortgage association, has been using the clear polycarbonate windows and doors for several years and, in November, declared plywood unacceptable for securing vacant properties. Cleveland-based SecureView is a key maker of clear board.

The company’s founder, Robert Klein, calls the Ohio law a “significant advancement” in the fight against urban decay.

Supreme Court delays serial killer’s execution

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to delay the execution date for a Cleveland man convicted of killing 11 women and hiding the remains in and around his home.

The court on Thursday granted the request from attorneys for serial killer Anthony Sowell (SOH’-wehl).

The execution had been set for Nov. 18, 2020. The court said the execution would be delayed until Sowell had exhausted all his appeals, most likely through the federal courts.

The court’s action was similar to its approach to other death penalty cases. It regularly sets initial execution dates after upholding death sentences, then delays them on request.

Jurors found Sowell guilty of killing 11 women from June 2007 to July 2009.

Southwest Airlines to end service at 2 airports

CINCINNATI — Southwest Airlines plans to end service at two Ohio airports while adding flights elsewhere in the region.

The Dallas-based carrier says it’s pulling out of Akron-Canton Airport and Dayton International Airport in June.

Instead of daily flights between Dayton and Chicago, it will offer Chicago and Baltimore-Washington flights from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron, Kentucky.

The Plain Dealer reports the airline wouldn’t immediately confirm whether its daily flights between Akron and Atlanta may be moved to Cleveland.

Southwest spokesman Dan Landson told the Dayton Daily News that leaving cities isn’t an easy decision but the carrier needed to go where it is needed most.

Dayton officials say the announcement reflects a growing trend of airlines concentrating service in larger hub markets.

OSHP: Crashes killed 17 during holidays

COLUMBUS — The State Highway Patrol says 13 people died in Ohio crashes during the long Christmas weekend and four more died during the four-day period around the New Year’s holiday.

The patrol has said preliminary data show the state had about 1,080 traffic fatalities in 2016.

The agency says the statistics for the New Year’s period showed a significant drop in traffic deaths from the comparable time a year earlier, when 11 people were killed.

Troopers especially focused on targeting drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs during the year-end holidays. The patrol says about 280 people were arrested for impaired driving between Dec. 23 and Dec. 26, and about 400 were arrested for that between Dec. 30 and Jan. 2.

Police investigating first homicide of 2017

COLUMBUS — Police in Columbus are investigating the capital city’s first homicide of 2017 after an Ohio State University student was gunned down not far from campus.

Officers were dispatched to a home on Northwood Avenue around 12:30 a.m. Thursday following reports that a man had been shot.

Inside the home police found 20-year-old Tarek Underiner unresponsive and suffering from several gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say investigators discovered no signs of forced entry at the residence. The victim’s two roommates were questioned but neither is considered a suspect at this time.

Detectives don’t believe the shooting was random. An investigation is ongoing.