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April 17, 2014

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Ohio guards: Inmate was urged to fake suffocation

Updated Monday, Jan. 27, 2014 | 2:17 p.m.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An attorney for a condemned Ohio inmate who snorted and gasped during his execution was temporarily suspended last week while officials investigated whether he had coached the inmate to fake symptoms of suffocation as he died.

The Ohio Public Defender's Office says Robert Lowe, an attorney for inmate Dennis McGuire, was back at work Monday after an internal review could not substantiate the allegation.

State prison records released Monday say McGuire told guards Lowe wanted him to "put on this big show" that would prompt the abolition of the death penalty. But three prison accounts indicate McGuire was unwilling to make a show of his death.

McGuire's final moments have sparked criticism and calls for a death-penalty moratorium. His family has sued alleging undue cruelty.

The Columbus Dispatch first reported the investigation.