The prolonged execution of an inmate in Ohio during which he repeatedly gasped and snorted amounted to cruel and unusual punishment which should not be allowed to happen again, the inmate's family says.
In a lawsuit, filed late on Friday, the family also alleges the drug maker that produced the medications used in the lethal injection illegally allowed them to be used for an execution and should be prohibited from making them available for capital punishment.
McGuire "repeated cycles of snorting, gurgling and arching his back, appearing to writhe in pain", the lawsuit said.
"It looked and sounded as though he was suffocating."
McGuire's execution lasted 26 minutes, the longest since the state resumed putting inmates to death in 1999, according to an Associated Press analysis of all 53 execution logs maintained by the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
It remains unclear what McGuire experienced. The AP observed him appearing to fall unconscious and remaining so while he snorted, gasped and opened and shut his mouth repeatedly.
McGuire's execution, during which his adult children sobbed in dismay, has led to several calls for a moratorium on capital punishment in the state.
In addition, a separate federal lawsuit filed on Thursday seeks to stop the March execution of a killer in Ohio on the grounds that condemned inmates could be clinically alive for as long as 45 minutes after a time of death is announced in the state death chamber.
Lawyers for Gregory Lott, who is scheduled to die March 19 for setting an East Cleveland man on fire in 1986 and leaving him to die, also say Ohio is breaking state and federal law by using the drugs without a prescription.