By Brian Evans
The death penalty is always inhumane, but Ohio’s second attempt
to execute Romell Broom on September 15th was particularly disturbing.
During the two-hour ordeal the execution team repeatedly attempted and
failed to find a useable vein in which to insert the lethal injection
needle, and eventually had to give up. Mr. Broom’s execution has been
stayed, but Lawrence Reynolds, Darryl Durr, and Kenneth Biros are still
scheduled to be put to death before the end of this year.
lawyers have filed for a stay of execution, pointing out that this
latest failed execution attempt is further evidence of “a pattern of serious problems with the administration of lethal injection in Ohio.”
While the victims of these crimes and their families always suffer
greatly, the perpetuation of violence through the death penalty is
never the most constructive way to handle such tragedies.
Unfortunately, this situation is not unique; in Ohio
alone there have been at least two other poorly handled executions over
the last three years. In May of 2006, it took the Ohio execution team
nearly half an hour to find a useable vein in condemned prisoner Joseph Clark’s
arm, and then that vein collapsed, causing Clark’s arm to swell.
witnesses reported hearing “moaning, crying out and guttural noises”
coming from behind the curtain while the execution team continued to
try for 30 more minutes to find another vein. It wasn’t until an hour
and a half after the execution began that Joseph Clark was pronounced
In 2007 another execution team in Ohio struggled to find useable veins in condemned prisoner, this time Christopher Newton.
It was again a prolonged ordeal, and Mr. Newton was not declared dead
until nearly two hours after the execution process began.
Ohio state officials still have no contingency plan for these kinds of
situations, and they are not addressed in the state’s lethal injection
protocol. Because of this clear evidence that the state of Ohio has
serious problems administering lethal injections, please tell Ohio
Governor Ted Strickland to stop executions from being carried out in his state.