An inmate who survived a two-hour botched execution in 2009 can be put to death, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
Romell Broom shouted in pain as prison officials tried 18 times to insert an IV line in his arms and legs to administer a lethal injection of drugs. His lawyers argued that again ordering him to death would constitute double jeopardy, as well as cruel and unusual punishment.
The court disagreed, rejected those arguments in a 4-to-3 vote.
Broom’s case became a rallying cry of the anti-death-penalty movement. Ohioans to Stop Executions asked Gov. John Kasich, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination against Donald Trump and Tom Cruz, to commute Broom’s punishment to a life sentence.
He was ordered to die for the 1984 rape and murder of 14-year-old Tryna Middleton, who he kidnapped in Cleveland while she walked home with friends from a football game.
The court’s ruling sided with state prosecutors, who said the execution never really started because lethal poison never entered Broom’s veins. Defense attorneys argued that Broom was in the process of being executed because he was strapped down and needles were inserted into his skin.
The prison team struggled to find a suitable vein, but its members unable to find one that didn’t collapse. According to witnesses, Broom tried to help by trying to force a vein to bulge. After two hours of pricking his ankles, hands and arms, the execution was stopped by then-Gov. Ted Strickland.
Both legal sides have been battling ever since.
No new execution date has been set for Broom, who is now 59. He has long maintained his innocence.
More than two dozen inmates with firm dates are ahead of Broom, The Associated Press reported. With an appeal likely, it could be years before a second date with death is scheduled for Broom.