Sick Prisoner Will Get Pillow During Execution to Help Him Breathe as He Dies

Associated Press
Associated Press

An Ohio inmate suffering from a chronic disease and set to be executed Wednesday will receive a wedge-shaped pillow to help him breathe as he receives his lethal injection.

Alva Campbell, 69, has previously said he is too sick for the procedure due to his severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder — the result of a decades-long, two-pack-a-day smoking habit — prison doctors said.

Read: Missouri Governor Halts Man's Execution Hours Before in 'Light of New DNA Evidence'

Campbell’s lawyer noted the inmate uses a walker, relies on a colostomy bag, and requires four breathing treatments a day, as reasons to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the planned execution.

Campbell’s attorneys said his death could become a “spectacle” if guards are unable to find suitable veins in the in his arms, as they had a problem doing so at Campbell’s medical exam last month.

Dr. James McWeeney also tried lowering Campbell to normal execution during the exam and noted there were “no objective findings such as increased pulse rate or breathing to corroborate Campbell's anxiety," reports said.

McWeeney, however, recommended that Campbell lie “in a semi-recumbent position” during the execution.

Campbell arrived at the death house at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility Tuesday morning.

Earlier this month, Campbell reportedly lost a bid to be executed by firing squad after a federal judge questioned whether lawmakers would enact the bill needed to allow the method, Fox News reported.

Prosecutors said the inmate’s health claims are ironic, considering he faked paralysis after he was shot during a 1997 robbery and when he was driven to court on the armed robbery charges, he overpowered a deputy and escaped. 

Campbell took the deputy's gun, and then carjacked 18-year-old Charles Dials. He drove around with Dials for several hours before shooting him twice in the head as he crouched in the footwell of his truck, court records said.

Dials' brother, sister and uncle will witness the execution, according to the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Read: Man Put to Death for Rape and Murder of 3-Year-Old Girl, Ending Ohio's 3-Year Execution Break

Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich rejected clemency for Campbell last week.

Campbell's last meal includes pork chops, greens, sweet potato pie, mashed potatoes and gravy and macaroni and cheese, reports said.