Romell Broom was sentenced to death by lethal injection in 1985 for the rape, robbery and murder of 14-year-old Tryna Middleton in Cleveland, Ohio. However, when the date of his execution finally arrived in 2009, technicians struggled to find a vein, reportedly sticking him 18 times with needles over the course of two hours before granting him a reprieve. Now lawyers for the 60-year-old convict are petitioning the United States Supreme Court, saying a second attempt at his execution would be cruel and unusual punishment and also violate the double jeopardy protections of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Ohio has a bad history when it comes to executions by lethal injection. In 2006 it took over an hour and a half for technicians to execute Joseph Clark for his 1984 killing of a gas station attendant for $60. A year later, Christopher Newton’s execution for the murder of his cellmate took 2 hours and 10 tries to locate a vein, long enough for the convicted to take a bathroom break. Death by lethal injection was first used in the late 1970s and was initially seen as a more humane form of execution than the electric chair, gas chamber, hanging or death by firing squad.
In March the Ohio Supreme Court had rejected Broom’s appeal to have his execution overturned in a 4 – 3 decision. He is only the second inmate in U.S. history to survive an attempted execution and the first to survive death by lethal injection.