A death row prisoner went through 18 failed execution processes as officials were unable to find a suitable vein – then he died of suspected Covid-19.
Romell Broom had spent 24 years in an Ohio prison waiting to be killed for kidnapping, raping and murdering 14-year-old Tryna Middleton as she walked home in 1984.
His execution was scheduled for 15 September 2009 following a DNA test in 2003 that failed to clear the prisoner’s name after he maintained his innocence.
When he was being prepared for the lethal injection, Broom was strapped to a table and officials attempted to find a suitable vein to jab him with the fatal mixture of pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride and midazolam.
According to the Mirror, Broom even tried to help by moving his arm up and down and flexing his fingers – every time they tried, the vein collapsed.
After this, Broom was sat upright and shunts were inserted into his legs which caused pain and after two hours a decision was made to give up.
The next date was set for 22 September and officials tried to come up with a way to kill him but one that wouldn’t amount to torture – the decision was then made to postpone the execution indefinitely.
Campaign group Amnesty International fought to save his life and Broom wrote a book called Survivor on Death Row as well as challenging the state as they tried to set a new date for his killing.
But on 16 March 2016, Justice Judith Lanzinger ruled against him and said a botched attempt didn’t constitute a failure, adding that the IV line insertion was only a ‘preliminary step’ while the execution itself ‘commences when the lethal drug enters the IV line’.
She added: “Because the attempt did not proceed to the point of injection of a lethal drug into the IV line, jeopardy never attached.
“We simply are unable to conclude that Broom has established that the state in carrying out a second attempt is likely to violate its protocol and cause severe pain.”
Another date was set for 17 June 2020 but last April the necessary drug was unavailable so it was rescheduled again for 16 March 2022.
As Broom waited for this, the coronavirus pandemic set in and, according to the Daily Star, death row inmates were not shielded which meant he was placed on the ‘Covid probable list’ after passing away on 28 December 2020 at the age of 64.