Ohio Court Says Inmate in Botched Execution Can be Put to Death


Ohio’s highest court ruled Wednesday that the state can again try to execute a convicted murderer more than six years after its first botched attempt was called off after nearly two hours.

In a 4-3 decision, the state Supreme Court rejected the appeal of death row inmate Romell Broom, who had argued that a second turn at capital punishment would violate his constitutional protections against double jeopardy and cruel and unusual punishment.

Broom was found guilty of aggravated murder in 1985 in connection with the rape and death of 14-year-old Tryna Middleton.

In 2009, a medical team at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility was unable to access a vein to administer a lethal injection after at least 18 puncture attempts, prison officials said. Former Gov. Ted Strickland then granted an emergency reprieve.

An appeal from Broom’s legal team that challenged further execution attempts by the state wound its way through the state court system before it was ultimately denied on Wednesday.

“Because Broom’s life was never at risk since the drugs were not introduced, and because the state is committed to carrying out executions in a constitutional manner, we do not believe that it would shock the public’s conscience to allow the state to carry out Broom’s execution,” Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger wrote in the majority opinion.

Broom’s lawyers, Timothy F. Sweeney and S. Adele Shank, expressed disappointment with the divided decision.

“Mr. Broom has been informed of the decision and remains in good spirits,” the statement said. “He looks forward to pursuing the additional legal remedies available to him.”

No date for Broom’s second execution attempt has been set, according to his lawyers. The execution schedule for Ohio’s other death row inmates has been delayed as the state works to secure a supply of the necessary drug.

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SOURCE: CNN, David Shortell