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Saturday 23 September 2023 Dublin: 6°C
AP Death row inmate Romell Broom, whose 2009 botched execution was called off after two hours.
# Lethal Injection
Convicted murderer Romell Broom survived one execution but he now faces a second
Ohio first tried to execute him in 2009.

OHIO IS ALLOWED execute a condemned killer seven years after prison authorities tried and failed to do it the first time.

Romell Broom cried in pain after receiving 18 needle sticks during a 2009 botched execution that was called off after two hours.

The Ohio Supreme Court has now ruled by a vote of 4-3 that the state prisons agency can carry out a second execution.

In doing so, the court rejected arguments that it would amount to cruel and unusual punishment and double jeopardy.

Prosecutors had argued double jeopardy doesn’t apply because lethal drugs never entered Broom’s veins while executioners unsuccessfully tried to hook up an IV. They also said a previously unsuccessful execution attempt doesn’t affect the constitutionality of his death sentence.

Broom’s solicitors called the ruling disappointing and said they were exploring “additional legal remedies.”

Ohioans to Stop Executions, the state’s largest anti-death penalty group, called on Gov. John Kasich to commute Broom’s sentence to life without parole.

With a federal appeal of the ruling likely, a second execution is years away. In addition, Ohio already has more than two dozen death row inmates with firm execution dates but no lethal drugs to use on them.

wcmhnbc4 / YouTube

Broom was sentenced to die for raping and killing 14-year-old Tryna Middleton after abducting her in Cleveland in 1984 as she walked home from a football game with two friends.

Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger sided with the state in the case, saying the execution never began because the drugs weren’t administered.

“Because Broom’s life was never at risk since the drugs were not introduced, and because the state is committed to carrying out executions in a constitutional manner, we do not believe that it would shock the public’s conscience to allow the state to carry out Broom’s execution,” Lanzinger wrote.

The majority opinion said it was unclear why Broom’s veins couldn’t be accessed, a fact that brings the rejection of his appeal into question, Justice Judi French wrote in a dissent:

If the state cannot explain why the Broom execution went wrong, then the state cannot guarantee that the outcome will be different next time.

His 2009 execution was stopped by then-Governor Ted Strickland after an execution team tried for two hours to find a suitable vein. Broom has said he was stuck with needles at least 18 times, with pain so intense he cried and screamed.

An hour into the execution, the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction recruited a part-time prison doctor with no experience or training with executions to try — again, unsuccessfully — to find a vein.

Broom, 59, has been back on death row since. No new execution date has been set.

Bessye Middleton AP Bessye Middleton holds a painting of her daughter, Tryna, who was raped and murdered by Broom. AP

Broom’s appeals in federal court were on hold while the state court heard the constitutional arguments.

Broom was told of the decision and is in good spirits, said defence attorneys Timothy Sweeney and Adele Shank.

The state’s top public defender said it’s long been understood that the government gets one attempt at an execution.

“Whether you believe it’s the hand of God or just basic government failure, as happened in this case, they don’t get to do this again,” said Tim Young, head of the Ohio Public Defender’s Office.

The 18 times Broom was stuck with needles as he lay strapped to a gurney demonstrate the execution had begun, said Kevin Werner, executive director of Ohioans to Stop Executions.

The governor’s office wasn’t yet aware of the group’s petition or request for mercy, said spokesman Joe Andrews.

PastedImage-64508 Youtube / NBC Tryna Middleton was killed by Broom in 1984. Youtube / NBC / NBC

Relive the pain

Requiring Broom to endure another execution attempt would double up his punishment by forcing him to relive the pain he’s already been through, Shank and Sweeney argued last year.

During a June hearing, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor asked Shank about a prison official’s testimony that Broom may have caused the problems with his veins by ingesting an entire box of antihistamines the day before to dehydrate himself.

Shank, in seeking to rebut the state’s argument about purposeful hydration, said she saw Broom drinking coffee the day of the execution. Chris Schroeder, an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor, said the antihistamines allegation was not part of the state’s argument.

In 1947, Louisiana electrocuted 18-year-old Willie Francis by electric chair a year after an improperly prepared electric chair failed to work. The US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to allow the second execution to proceed, rejecting double jeopardy arguments.

Read: An Iranian billionaire has been sentenced to death >

Read: Georgia has just executed its oldest death row inmate >

Associated Foreign Press
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