Q&A on the News

Q: A prisoner was executed in Ohio last month. The story says it appeared he was in pain during the execution, and it took more than 20 minutes for him to die. It didn’t mention his crimes. What did he do?

—Gerald Wade, Stockbridge

A: Dennis McGuire, who was executed by lethal injection on Jan. 16, raped and killed newlywed Joy Stewart, 22, who was 30 weeks pregnant when she died in the attack in February 1989. Her unborn baby also died. DNA tests proved McGuire was the killer and he took responsibility for it in a letter to Ohio Gov. John Kasich. "Sir, I am sorry for what I have done to the Stewart family and Joy herself," McGuire wrote, according to The Associated Press. McGuire's family is suing the state after it took him 26 minutes to die. He was given a combination of drugs — midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a painkiller — that had never been used in an U.S. execution. The lawsuit stated that McGuire "repeated cycles of snorting, gurgling and arching his back, appearing to writhe in pain. It looked and sounded as though he was suffocating."

Q: There’s a company called REI. What does REI stand for?

—Steven Gresham, Covington

A: Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) sells apparel and gear for a variety of outdoor activities, including camping, climbing, cycling, fitness, hiking, paddling and snow sports, according to its website (REI.com). REI has stores on Northeast Expressway and near Perimeter Mall, Town Center at Cobb and the Mall of Georgia.

Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).