A Death Row inmate who survived his execution after 18 failed attempts to administer a lethal injection instead died behind bars of something else.
He was not the first Death Row prisoner to avoid his execution date due to a failure to deliver a lethal injection, with the recently executed Kenneth Smith surviving his first execution due to a failure with a lethal injection.
American man Romell Broom was sentenced to death for the abduction, rape and murder of 14-year-old Tryna Middleton, who he had killed in September 1984.
Broom had been paroled from prison in May of that year after raping a 12-year-old girl and committing armed robbery in 1975.
He was arrested in December 1984 after assaulting and abducting an 11-year-old girl where the child’s mother had held onto his car and screamed for help.
That had given two witnesses time to spot his license plate and he was arrested the same day.
Broom tried to offer a deal of pleading guilty in exchange for a 30 year sentence but this offer was refused and he was sentenced to death.
He spent around 25 years on Death Row before his sentence was due to be carried out on 15 September, 2009.
However, Broom survived his execution after those meant to administer the lethal injection spent two hours and 18 attempts trying to find a vein to establish a viable IV line.
Prison staff inserted the IV 18 times but were unable to find a suitable vein, and on one attempt they instead struck bone.
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, a doctor who examined Broom after the failed execution attempt described the 18 unsuccessful attempts to set an IV line as ‘somewhere between malpractice and assault’.
Broom then tried to challenge the state of Ohio’s authority to execute him, but the state’s Supreme Court judged in 2016 that he could be executed.
The first attempt to execute the convicted murderer failed after 18 attempts to deliver a lethal injection, and he died before his second execution date. Credit: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
Justice Judith Lanzinger gave the court’s opinion that the 18 attempts to administer a lethal injection did not constitute a botched execution as setting the IV line is a preliminary step and not the actual act of execution itself.
The Death Row inmate had tried to claim that another execution attempt would violate laws against placing a person in jeopardy of life twice.
However, the court decided that since his executioners had failed to set an IV line after 18 attempts and not actually administered the drug his life had not actually been in jeopardy.
The court also denied Broom’s claim that a second execution attempt would count as a cruel and unusual punishment, as their assumption was that prison personnel would carry out the execution successfully.
Broom’s next execution date was set for 17 June, 2020 but in April of that year he was granted a reprieve due to the lack of execution drugs available.
The convicted murderer’s execution date was put back to 16 March, 2022 but before he reached that date he died in prison due to suspected complications from Covid-19.