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Lack of lethal drugs means reprieve for man who killed cellmate at Lebanon Correctional Institution

James Galen Hanna
James Galen Hanna

Credit: OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION & CORRECTION

Credit: OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION & CORRECTION

A lack of lethal drugs means an execution reprieve for a man on death row who bragged about killing his cellmate at the Lebanon Correctional Institution.

RELATED: Drug access means no more Ohio executions likely this year

James Galen Hanna, 65, was set to die by lethal injection Dec. 11 for killing his cellmate Peter Copas, 43, by driving a sharpened paintbrush through his eye and bludgeoning him with a sock containing a padlock in 1997. Copas died nearly three weeks later.

In 1998, Hanna, who bragged of the killing in a letter to another inmate, was the first person sentenced to death in Warren County since 1907. He was in the Warren County prison serving a life sentence for the 1977 stabbing death of a Toledo convenience store clerk.

Hanna’s new execution date is July 16, 2020.

Gov. Mike DeWine issued the reprieve Wednesday due to ongoing problems with the willingness of pharmaceutical suppliers to provide drugs to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction.

DeWine issued a reprieve to another inmate, Kareem Jackson, who was scheduled to be executed Jan. 16, 2020. His execution date was moved to Sept. 16, 2020.

DeWine said last week that he was concerned that drugmakers might cut off supplies of medications if they learn the drugs will be used for capital punishment, the Associated Press reported.