Update: January 2, 2014
Ohio has announced that it was unable to obtain a dose of pentobarbital from a compounding pharmacy for the upcoming execution of Dennis McGuire on January 16, 2014, meaning the state will resort to its approved back-up method which combines midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a painkiller. Previously midazolam has been used in single drug executions in Florida, however, the combination of the drugs has not previously been used in an execution.
Update: December 30, 2013
The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected arguments by Ohio death row inmate Dennis McGuire regarding his upcoming execution on January 16, 2014. Dennis’ attorneys alleged that the attorneys during Dennis’ original trial failed to properly present evidence regarding Dennis’ tough childhood to the jury deciding whether Dennis should received a death sentence. The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the appeal on Monday, December, 30, 2013. Dennis is scheduled to be executed for the 1989 murder of pregnant woman Joy Stewart.Update: December 24, 2013
In an unanimous decision, the Ohio Parole Board has recommended to Governor John Kasich that death row inmate Dennis McGuire not be given clemency. Dennis asked that Parole Board to grant him clemency due to his chaotic and abusive childhood. Governor Kasich has not yet announced his decision on whether Dennis will be granted clemency. Next week, Ohio will be announcing the method of execution to be used; either a specialty dose of pentobarbital or a two-drug combination of a sedative and a painkiller.December 15, 2013
Dennis B. McGuire’s execution is scheduled to occur at 10 am EST, on January 16, 2014, at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Mansfield, Ohio. Fifty-three-year-old Dennis is convicted of kidnapping, raping, and murdering 22-year-old Joy Stewart, who was pregnant, on February 11, 1989, near Bantas Creek, Ohio. Dennis has spent the past 18 years on Ohio’s death row.
Two years after Dennis was born, his parents were divorced. Dennis was left in the care of her mother, living with her until he was 18 years old, except when he would occasionally run away to be with his father and brother. Growing up, Dennis’ mother was involved with several men who would verbally abuse Dennis and physically abuse his mother in front of him. They also frequently moved, leading Dennis to drop out of school after the ninth grade. After dropping out of school, Dennis began using marijuana.
Joy Stewart’s body was found by two hikers on February 12, 1989, in the woods near Bantas Creek. The front of her shirt was soaked in blood and a “blood wipe mark” on her right arm. An autopsy revealed that Joy had been stabbed twice in the neck. The first stab did not cause much damage, but the second stab severed the carotid artery and jugular vein, which caused Joy’s death. Joy had also been raped and sperm samples were collected.
Investigators had few leads until December 1989, when Dennis McGuire, who was in jail for an unrelated offense, asked to speak to the investigator about Joy’s murder. McGuire said that Jerry Richardson, his brother-in-law killed Joy. Investigators grew suspicious of McGuire when he was able to provide details about the murder that had not been publically released. McGuire was also able to lead investigators to the knife used in the murder.
The morning before Joy’s body was found, she went to a friend’s, Juanita Deaton, house for a late breakfast. McGuire was also there, as he had been hired to clean the ice out of the gutters. Juanita testified that before Joy left, she saw Joy talking to two men in a dark-colored car. Juanita was unable to determine the identity of the two males. Shortly after Joy left, McGuire also left.
McGuire’s brother-in-law, Jerry Richardson, testified that McGuire came over to his house that afternoon. Joy also came over, separately, and asked for some marijuana. When McGuire offered to get her some, they left together, in McGuire’s vehicle.
When McGuire talked to the police, he told them Jerry wanted to have sex with Joy, but Joy refused. According to McGuire, Jerry then pulled a knife on Joy and forced her to have oral sex with him before he sodomized her. Finally, McGuire alleged that Jerry stabbed Joy “in the shoulder bone” and “cut her throat.” These details, provided by McGuire, were not public knowledge, although consistent with the autopsy report. McGuire then led police to where the knife was hidden. In a second interview, McGuire provided additional information, that Jerry had choked Joy before stabbing her and had wiped off his bloody hands on her, which was also consistent, although not public knowledge.
McGuire also said that Jerry was driving his mother’s blue Ford Escort the day of the murder, however, Jerry’s mother later testified that she had traded in the Escort one year before the murder. Furthermore, she was driving her car the day of the murder; Jerry would not have had access to it.
On December 24, 1989, McGuire was visited by an old friend. McGuire told his friend that Jerry and he had killed Joy, but he was going to blame it all on Jerry. Additionally, an inmate in the jail testified that McGuire had told another inmate about the crime and, at time, implicated himself. A second inmate testified that McGuire had told him that he raped Joy, after which Joy became “hysterical,” and McGuire killed Joy, fearing he would end up in jail for raping a pregnant woman.
In 1992, DNA testing was performed on samples from Joy’s body and clothing and compared to blood samples from McGuire, Jerry, and Joy’s husband. Jerry and Joy’s husband were eliminated as being possible suspects. In December of 1994, McGuire was convicted and sentenced to die. DNA testing was again conducted in 2002, and identified McGuire as the rapist.
Please pray for peace for the family of Joy Stewart. Please pray for strength for the family of Dennis McGuire. Please pray thatDennis may come to have peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already found one.