Inmate On Death Row Survives 18 Execution Attempts, And Dies Of Coronavirus

Inmate On Death Row Survives 18 Execution Attempts, And Dies Of Coronavirus

Romell Broom was to be put to death on September 15, 2009, and then again in 2015, after unsuccessful attempts at finding a suitable vein to inject the toxic solution that would kill him.

Trigger warning: Rape, death.

Romell Broom was convicted on the counts of kidnap, murder, and rape in 1984. He was put on death row but had somehow managed to evade execution for all these years, especially the initial attempt to execute him with a lethal injection in 2009. But the 64-year-old passed away in December 2020 possibly due to complications related to COVID-19, reported the Associated Press. He has been placed on the “COVID probable list” maintained by the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, according to a spokesperson. At least 397,422 have been infected by the COVID-19 virus so far, as per The Marshall Project.


The Ohio inmate was to be put to death on September 15, 2009. He was strapped to the table and the executioners produced the deadly solution of pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride, and midazolam that was to be injected into his bloodstream, ending his life. But the problem was they were unable to find a suitable vein to stick the needle in. There more than a dozen unsuccessful attempts and it is believed that he was stuck by needles 18 times over two hours. Broom even tried to help them by turning on his side and moving his arms up and down to help locate a vein.



The team had finally managed to find a vein and attempted to inject the needle only for the vein to collapse at that moment. Broom, by this point, was in physical as well as mental turmoil and began to weep, reported the Daily Star. The execution was rescheduled to a few days later but was then postponed indefinitely. Broom was returned to death row and he fought unsuccessfully to avoid a second execution. There was another attempt at execution in 2015. He again tried to help the executioners find a vein unsuccessfully. He ended up crying on the table and was comforted by his executioners.



Broom's most recent execution day was set for June of this year but Republican Gov. Mike DeWine issued a reprieve and set a new date in March 2022. "We are sorry that he is gone and sorry that he lived his last days on death row," Broom's lawyer Adele Shank said in a statement on behalf of her and the inmate's other attorney, Tim Sweeney, reported NBC News. "Due to a painful and traumatic botched execution procedure, Broom survived that day only to live with the ever-increasing fear and distress that the same process would be used on him at his next execution date."


They added: "Let his passing in this way, and not in the execution chamber, be the final word on whether a second attempt should ever have been considered." After his unsuccessful and traumatizing execution attempts, Amnesty International campaigned to spare Broom's life. Broom even wrote a book titled, Survivor on Death Row, about his experience. Justice Judith Lanzinger had noted, "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."



Ohio is now under a de facto death penalty moratorium since the drugs needed for the lethal injection cannot be accessed by the state. DeWine has stated that lawmakers look for alternate execution methods. Few other prisoners have managed to avoid executions like Broom including Alva Campbell and Doyle Lee Hamm. 

Broom was sentenced to death for raping and killing 14-year-old Tryna Middleton after he abducted her in Cleveland in 1984 as she walked home from a football game with two friends. He claimed to be innocent and tried to prove this by having a DNA test done in 2003. The results from the DNA test failed to exonerate him.


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