July 18, 2018 / 10:08 AM / 3 months ago

Ohio executes man convicted of 1985 murder, mutilation

(Reuters) - Ohio executed by lethal injection a man convicted of a 1985 murder and mutilation on Wednesday, in the state’s third execution since it lifted a temporary halt last year on carrying out death sentences.

Death Row inmate Robert Van Hook, is shown in this undated photo provided July 17, 2018. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction/Handout via REUTERS

Robert Van Hook, 58, was pronounced dead at 10:44 a.m. EDT (1444 GMT), 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 a Cincinnati 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 at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville brought 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.

It was the 14th execution in the United States this year. On Tuesday, Texas 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 drug cocktails that prompted the state to temporarily halt executions in 2015 because of difficulty obtaining the needed 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 and Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Frank McGurty and Bernadette Baum

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