Gov. Mike DeWine pushes back Cleveland killer’s execution date

Jeremy Pelzer - Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Gov. Mike DeWine has postponed the execution date of a Cleveland murderer amid continuing issues with finding lethal-injection drugs.

Melvin Bonnell, 62, convicted of shooting and killing 23-year-old Robert Bunner in 1986 in Bunner’s apartment, was the next Death Row inmate scheduled to die in Ohio. He was set to be put to death on Feb. 12, 2020 at the Southern Ohio Corrections Facility in Lucasville; DeWine has rescheduled his execution to March 18, 2021.

The reason given for the delay is the state’s continuing problems with finding a pharmaceutical company willing to sell drugs for use in executions. The governor has repeatedly expressed his concern that if companies find that Ohio used their drugs to put people to death, they will refuse to sell any of their drugs (not just the ones used in executions) to the state. That would endanger the ability of thousands of Ohioans – such as Medicaid recipients, state troopers, and prison inmates – to get drugs through state programs.

DeWine’s announcement means that the next death-row inmate set to die is Gregory Lott, a Cleveland murderer, on March 12, 2020.

Jeremy Pelzer

Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)

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