US

Death row quandary in Ohio: 2 dozen killers with execution dates, but no drugs to kill them

  • FILE - In this April 24, 2007, file photo, a hearse carries the body of James Filiaggi from Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, following his execution for killing his ex-wife in 1994. Two dozen death row inmates in Ohio now have scheduled execution dates, but the state has been unable so far to obtain lethal drugs used in past executions. (AP Photo/Scott Osborne, File)

    FILE - In this April 24, 2007, file photo, a hearse carries the body of James Filiaggi from Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, following his execution for killing his ex-wife in 1994. Two dozen death row inmates in Ohio now have scheduled execution dates, but the state has been unable so far to obtain lethal drugs used in past executions. (AP Photo/Scott Osborne, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2014, file photo, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien discusses central Ohio homicide cases during a Columbus, Ohio, news conference. Because two dozen death row inmates in Ohio now have scheduled execution dates, but the state has been unable so far to obtain lethal drugs used in past executions, O'Brien says he'd like state officials to consider nitrogen gas, approved by Oklahoma in April. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2014, file photo, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien discusses central Ohio homicide cases during a Columbus, Ohio, news conference. Because two dozen death row inmates in Ohio now have scheduled execution dates, but the state has been unable so far to obtain lethal drugs used in past executions, O'Brien says he'd like state officials to consider nitrogen gas, approved by Oklahoma in April. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this March 7, 2008, file photo, Ohio Public Defender Tim Young answers questions during an interview with The Associated Press in Columbus, Ohio. Two dozen death row inmates in Ohio now have scheduled execution dates, but the state has been unable so far to obtain lethal drugs used in past executions, which Young says seems to cause pressure to consider untested drugs and execution protocols. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

    FILE - In this March 7, 2008, file photo, Ohio Public Defender Tim Young answers questions during an interview with The Associated Press in Columbus, Ohio. Two dozen death row inmates in Ohio now have scheduled execution dates, but the state has been unable so far to obtain lethal drugs used in past executions, which Young says seems to cause pressure to consider untested drugs and execution protocols. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)  (The Associated Press)

The number of condemned Ohio killers is now at two dozen even though the state can't find supplies of lethal drugs to execute them.

The prison system now has just over four months to obtain the drugs if it hopes to execute the first inmate of 24 scheduled to die beginning in January.

On Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court set a March 2017 date for Gary Otte (OH'-tee) of Cleveland for the shooting deaths of two people in a 1992 robbery spree.

The state hasn't executed anyone since January 2014, when condemned killer Dennis McGuire gasped and snorted repeatedly during a 26-minute procedure with a then untried two-drug method.

Ohio abandoned that method in favor of other drugs which it now can't find.