An Ohio man scheduled to be put to death next month has been granted clemency and had his sentence reduced to life without parole today -- the day after an execution Oklahoma went horribly wrong.
Arthur Tyler was convicted of the 1983 murder of Sander Leach, though accounts as to whether or not he was the actual triggerman differ. Tyler maintains he was present but did not shoot Leach. Leroy Head, the other man involved in the murder, testified that Tyler was the shooter in exchange for a plea deal but said before and after the trial that he was the shooter. Head has been a free man since 2008. Tyler was scheduled to die May 28 until Gov. Jay Kasich granted clemency.
The timing of Kasich's decision is interesting, given what happened in Oklahoma last night. Like Oklahoma, Ohio has had problems with the drugs it uses in lethal injections. Yesterday, the state announced that it would increase the dosages of the drugs after the January execution of Dennis McGuire, done with a never-before-used drug cocktail, took almost a half hour to finish, during which time McGuire appeared to be gasping for air. Tyler's execution would have been the first since then.
That said, Kasich's decision comes after the Ohio Parole Board recommended clemency yesterday -- before Clayton Lockett's botched execution. The parole board also recommended that Tyler's sentence be changed to life with the possibility of parole, but Kasich decided on life without parole instead.
There are now 138 people on Ohio's death row -- 137 men and 1 woman. The next execution is scheduled for July 2.