They Started the Execution, Then Called It Off

They couldn't find a vein for lethal injection
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2017 2:03 AM CST
They Started the Execution, Then Called It Off
This photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows death row inmate Alva Campbell.   (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction via AP, File)

An Ohio inmate described as "the poster child for the death penalty" turned out to be too unhealthy to execute on Wednesday. The execution of 69-year-old convicted murderer Alva Campbell was halted 30 minutes in after a medical team failed to find viable sites for a lethal injection, the Columbus Dispatch reports. Campbell, who murdered 18-year-old Charles Dials during a 1997 carjacking and served 20 years in prison for a previous killing, was granted a temporary reprieve by Gov. John Kasich. He will return to death row with a new execution date of June 5, 2019, but he suffers from multiple illnesses and doctors are unsure whether he will survive long enough to be executed.

David Stebbins, Campbell's public defender, says the inmate shook hands with members of the medical team after the execution was called off, the AP reports. Stebbins says he has "no idea" whether the inmate will survive until 2019, but the health problems that made it impossible to find a usable vein are not going to go away. According to the AP, this is only the third time in modern US history that an execution in progress has been called off. Ohio inmate Romell Broom is still alive after a botched execution attempt in 2009. In 1946, 16-year-old Louisiana inmate Willie Francis survived after a drunk prison guard improperly set up an electric chair. Francis was executed the following year. (More execution stories.)

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