Futile search for vein delays death penalty
LUCASVILLE, Ohio–A prison log blames a condemned inmate's past drug use for problems finding a usable vein during an execution attempt that was stopped Tuesday after an unprecedented two hours.
The log of the scheduled execution of Romell Broom indicates executioners made the observation at 3:11 p.m., an hour after first trying to find a vein.
"Medical team having problem maintaining an open vein due to past drug use," said the log.
After about an hour, Broom tried to help. He turned onto his left side, slid rubber tubing up his left arm, began moving the arm up and down and flexed and closed his fingers.
Broom said at one point he was a heavy heroin user, but then said at another time he wasn't, said prisons spokeswoman Julie Walburn.
Governor Ted Strickland issued a one-week reprieve to Broom, who spent more than two hours awaiting execution as technicians searched for a vein strong enough to deliver the three-drug lethal injection.
Broom, 53, has been placed in a cell in the infirmary at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville where he is on close watch.
Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said he expects legal challenges on the issue of subjecting someone to multiple executions will mean Broom will not face execution again in a week's time.
Broom was sentenced to die for the 1984 rape and slaying of Tryna Middleton, 14, in Cleveland.
Sep 17, 2009 04:30 AM