A man on death row survived 18 failed attempts to execute him when officials trying to administer the lethal injection couldn’t find a suitable vein. Romell Broom was in an Ohio prison for 24 years after being convicted of the kidnap, rape, and murder of 14-year-old Tryna Middleton in 1984 though he has always maintained his innocence. However, after the failed execution attempts, he sadly died of COVID-19.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
- Broom’s execution was scheduled for September 15, 2009. On the date, he was strapped to a table while officials tried to find a suitable vein in which to inject the mixture of pancuronium bromide, midazolam, and potassium chloride. However, this proved to be much more challenging than anyone would have imagined.
- He even tried to help officials find a good vein. According to the Mirror, Broom is said to have tried to move his arm up and down and flex his fingers to make his veins more prominent. However, every time officials tried to inject it, the vein would collapse. Every single time they tried – and there were more than a dozen attempts made, the same thing happened.
- Officials placed shunts in his legs but even that didn’t work. The shunts caused pain but did nothing to provide officials with a vein in which they could inject him. They were starting to realize that the execution wasn’t going to go forward.
- After two hours, they decided to call off the execution. They planned to try again on September 22 but failed to find a way to end Broom’s life that wouldn’t be amount to torture, so it was eventually postponed indefinitely. During this period, Amnesty International fought for Broom’s life and Broom himself wrote a book called Survivor on Death Row.
- A court eventually ruled against him. During a hearing held on March 16, 2016, Broom lost his fight for his life when Justice Judith Lanzinger ruled that the execution attempt hadn’t failed at all and that inserting the IV line is just a “preliminary step” and that 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.”
- A new execution date was set for June 17, 2020. However, the drug needed to perform the execution was unavailable at the time and it was rescheduled yet again for March 16, 2022. Sadly, because death row inmates are unable to socially distance, he was placed on the “COVID probable list” and passed away on December 28, 2020 at the age of 64.