July 18, 2018 / 10:03 AM / a year ago

Ohio to execute man convicted of 1985 murder, mutilation

July 18 (Reuters) - Ohio plans on Wednesday to put to put to death by lethal injection a man convicted of a 1985 murder and mutilation in what would be the state’s third execution since it lifted a temporary halt last year on carrying out death sentences.

Robert Van Hook, 58, is due to be executed at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT), for killing a man he met in a Cincinnati bar, said JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Van Hook was convicted of choking and stabbing David Self, 25, multiple times after meeting the victim at the bar, according to authorities. They said he gutted and tried to decapitate the victim.

The condemned man, who has spent most of his life on death row, was convicted of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery.

Van Hook’s execution would bring to 56 the number of executions in Ohio since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The last execution in Ohio was in September 2017.

Van Hook’s execution would be the 14th execution in the United States this year. Texas on Tuesday executed a man for murdering a store owner during a robbery in 2004.

Van Hook has been a party to a long-running lawsuit challenging Ohio’s death chamber protocols and lethal injection robermixes that prompted the state to temporarily halt executions in 2015 because of difficulty obtaining lethal injection drugs. It resumed executions last year and put two inmates to death.

Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Frank McGurty and Peter Cooney

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