Botched Lethal Injection Brings Temporary Halt To Alabama Execution

An Alabama execution had to be stopped after there were problems finding veins to administer the lethal injection.

Atmore, AL - A death row inmate had more than a dozen puncture marks in his legs and groin after an unsuccessful attempt to execute him on Feb. 22.

Doyle Hamm, 61, who had been on death row for 30 years for the murder of a motel clerk in 1987, was receiving the lethal injection through veins in his groin and legs because the veins in his arms were too damaged from his prior drug use, according to NBC News.

Bernard Harcourt, the prisoner’s attorney, said the attempts to inject the convicted murderer may have penetrated his bladder and femoral artery before the execution was called off.

"This was clearly a botched execution that can only be accurately described as torture," Harcourt said in a statement after a doctor examined his client in prison.

The execution started late on Thursday night due to last-minute appeals, and state officials were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to find a good vein before the death warrant expired at midnight.

"I wouldn't necessarily characterize what we had tonight as a problem," Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn told reporters at the time. His statement has been met with much criticism.

Harcourt said that the IV team was working on both of Hamm’s legs and inserting needles.

"The IV personnel almost certainly punctured Doyle’s bladder, because he was urinating blood for the next day," he said. "They may have hit his femoral artery as well, because suddenly there was a lot of blood gushing out. There were multiple puncture wounds on the ankles, calf, and right groin area, around a dozen."

Harcourt said his client was "was lying there praying and hoping that they would succeed because of the pain, and collapsed when they took him off the gurney."

Ahead of the execution, Harcourt had argued that due to Hamm's history of drug abuse, and his battle with cancer, it would be impossible for the executioners to find good veins to deliver the lethal drugs to his client.

A doctor from the Columbia University Medical Center examined Hamm and determined that the prisoner had no usable veins and that “the state is not equipped to achieve venous access in Mr. Hamm’s case,” The New York Times reported.

But a judge ruled that execution could go forward, as long as the IV wasn’t inserted in Hamm’s arms.

The state has not yet announced whether it will seek a new execution date, according to Reuters.

Comments (10)
No. 1-10
Thinblueline
Thinblueline

What was the problem? Seems ok to me, try again tomorrow.

NTPD935Ret
NTPD935Ret

I agree! Let’s strap this pos to the table everyday until we find a vein!

MadKaw55
MadKaw55

First off, why has he been on death row for 30 years? That's inexcusable! Next why not go back to using rope? Hanging doesn't require good veins.

Bgoldsbyjr
Bgoldsbyjr

Why not get an ultrasound machine in there to locate a vein and insert the needle. I've seen it done before quicker and less risky of missing. Or just give him a lethal injection of lead.

fightinsanity
fightinsanity

Thirty years is a bit long to be on death row, don't you think? I think that he was punished enough for his actions. I think there should be a time limit (like a year) to appeal the decision. Then a rope would be quicker and cheaper. If the person was innocent, God would have to sort him or her out.