A death row inmate was left in ‘great pain’ after executioners botched his lethal injection.
61-year-old Doyle Lee Hamm was stuck repeatedly with a needle in his lower legs, ankles and groin as his executioners struggled to find a usable vein.
Eventually, the execution was aborted because medical staff did not think they could obtain ‘the appropriate venous access’ before a midnight deadline.
Hamm, who suffered from lymphoma which compromised his veins, was to be executed Thursday for killing Patrick Cunningham in 1987.
After shooting Mr Cunningham Hamm stole $410 and when police caught him he confessed to the murder. He’s served over 30 years on Death Row.
The state prison commissioner claimed the execution was delayed because of a time issue but this was disputed by Bernard Harcourt who instead claimed the execution was botched.
In July last year, Harcourt argued that a lethal injection would be difficult and painful for Hamm because of his previous illness and prior drug use.
Two UN human rights experts echoed Harcourt’s concerns warning that ‘attempts to insert needles into Mr Hamm’s veins to carry out the lethal injection would inflict pain and suffering that may amount to torture’.
Amnesty International also called for Hamm’s death sentence to be commuted as his ill health may render lethal injection unconstitutional.
Despite this, the US Supreme Court cleared the execution to proceed and two executioners tried multiple times to insert the intravenous line on his left and right legs and ankles.
When this was unsuccessful they attempted to find a vein on the back of his legs before finally attempting to find one in his groin.
Mr Harcourt told reporters:
He’s in great pain from yesterday evening, physically, from all of the attempts to access his veins in his lower extremities and in his groin.
UPDATE #DoyleHamm: “This was torture. The federal courts and the governor of Alabama have just invented ‘wrongful execution.’” Headed back into Holman Prison tomorrow, Sunday, with Dr. Mark Heath to document the botched execution for the US district judge: https://t.co/hA9gr9lBKH pic.twitter.com/2ajcjkbAsX
— Bernard E. Harcourt (@BernardHarcourt) February 24, 2018
He believes that the lapse of more than two hours before the state halted the execution was a sign that something was wrong.
Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn said the only obstacle to a successful execution was a lack of time, although he admitted he didn’t know how long the medical team attempted to connect the line.
All prisoners in the US have a constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
The US District Judge Karon Bowdre has ordered a medical examination of Hamm and directed the state to obtain material related to the attempted execution.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall claims that he will be executed and Mr Cunningham’s family given justice.