The Associated Press reports that the defense attorney for Doyle Lee Hamm, 61, who was scheduled to be executed in Alabama on Thursday, is trying to obtain more details about why his execution was halted.
Court records indicate that state employees tried several times to find venous access in Hamm’s groin, ankle and lower legs before calling off the lethal injection. A medical examination of Hamm was ordered by a U.S. District Judge on Friday.
Hamm is suffering from lymphoma and was to be executed for the 1987 murder of a motel clerk. However, the execution was called off at 11:30 p.m. Thursday because the medical staff did not think it could find “appropriate venous access” in order to meet the deadline at midnight. This declaration was issued 2 ½ hours after the U.S. Supreme Court “cleared the execution to proceed,” says the AP.
The state’s prison commissioner claimed the execution was halted due to an issue of time.
Hamm’s attorney, Bernard Harcourt, suspects a botched execution attempt. He argued in court months ago that they would have trouble finding a suitable vein for the lethal injection due to their compromised nature from the lymphoma, hepatitis and Hamm's prior drug use, according to the AP.
He states that his client is in great pain after the multiple attempts to find a suitable vein. Team members working the execution allegedly tried to connect to veins on both sides of Hamm’s body before flipping him over and trying to get a vein in the back of his legs. They made their final attempt by trying to connect to a vein through his groin.
The commissioner told media that the only reason the execution was halted was due to time constraints and that he was unaware of how long teams tried to access a vein in Hamm. Harcourt argues that records showing there was more than a two hour lapse between the medical exam and halting the execution indicated a problem occurred. The last four executions in Alabama took place within about an hour after the U.S. Supreme Court gave officials final permission to carry it out.
*Photo credit The Associated Press