Ohio prison rules could limit inmates’ last words

From WashingtonPost.com:┬áThe final words of condemned prisoners in Ohio could be edited or shortened under new state prison rules announced Thursday. The restrictions would be the first on an inmate’s final statement since Ohio resumed executions in 1999.

Ohio allowed for unlimited statements after a 1999 lawsuit challenged the policy in place at the time, which permitted only a written statement to be read after an inmate’s death. Kentucky and Washington both impose a two-minute limit, while California’s protocols allow “a brief final statement.”

Virginia allows statements but begins the execution a few seconds later regardless of whether the inmate has concluded. Pennsylvania allows only written statements to be read after an inmate is put to death.

In May, Ohio executed a man who killed a motorist who gave him a ride and shot two others during a three-week spree that terrorized the Cincinnati area in 1983. The man apologized for his crime, then recited the rosary and other prayers before he died, choking back tears as he repeatedly said the Hail Mary with rosary beads in one hand. At 17 minutes, it was the longest final statement by a condemned Ohio inmate since executions resumed 11 years ago.