At the beginning of True Grit (the new one), we watch the simultaneous hanging of three men. In 1862, the feds hanged 38 Santee Sioux in a single mass execution. (Lincoln commuted the sentences of 295, though one them was accidentally hanged in the place of one of the 38 who was supposed to be.)
Here in Ohio, we're not quite that callous.
Last year Ohio held 8 executions, Texas 17, the rest of the nation 21.
In 2011, there have been 4 executions, and neither Ohio nor Texas is on the list. (If you're trying to keep track, it's OKlahoma 1, Alabama & Georgia 1 each.) I don't keep enough track of what they have in mind to know how many Texas is planning for this year, but they say they've only enough thiopental for two killings scheduled later this month so they may have to do some scrambling to buy some on the black market (hey, there's a new market for drug dealers, with probably little risk of prosecution) or change their methods.
But Ohio's not wasting any time. We've got Frank Spisak scheduled for a week from Thursday, and Johnnie Baston for March 10. And this morning the Ohio Supreme Court set 7 more. One a month into the fall. (The official announcement is here.)
- April 12 - Clarence Carter
- May 17 - Danny Bedford
- June 14 - Shawn Hawkins
- July 19 - Kenneth Smith
- August 16 - Brett Hartman
- September 20 - Bill Slagle
- October 18 - Joey Murphy
That brings the scheduled total for 2011 to 9. With 2 open months left.
The math is that they probably won't all go. Someone's likely to get a stay from somewhere. But they could. And they might. And they'll probably kill most of them.
But this isn't the old west. We're serial killers now, not mass murderers. It's a difference certainly, though serial killers and mass murderers share a single death specification in Ohio law.