Lawyers seek details on Ohio executioner's cancer

September 23, 2011 - 1:35 AM
EXECUTIONER CANCER

FILE-This is a recent undated file photo from Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows Joseph D. Murphy. One of Ohio’s executioners has cancer, and attorneys trying to save Murphy, a condemned inmate, want to know more about the condition and whether it will affect the executioner’s job. (AP Photo/ Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — One of Ohio's executioners has cancer, and attorneys trying to save a condemned inmate want to know more about the condition and whether it will affect the executioner's job.

While the state says the request is just a chance to annoy and harass the man known as Team Member 17, a federal judge says defense attorneys can ask their questions.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost on Tuesday said the information is relevant to whether the executioner can fulfill his duties.

Forty-six-year-old Joseph Murphy faces execution next month for slashing a woman's neck during a 1987 robbery that netted her penny collection.

The battle comes amid a renewed death penalty debate after the execution this week of Troy Davis in Georgia.