Seven years after his botched execution was halted because prison officials could not insert a needle into his veins, a court has decided the authorities can once again try to put do death a convicted killer and sex offender.
Lawyers for death row inmate Romell Broom had argued that because his 2009 execution was halted after two hours, sending him to the death chamber a second time would constitute both cruel and unusual punishment, and broach the double jeopardy rule.
But Ohio’s highest court voted by a 4-3 margin on Wednesday, that the double jeopardy rule did not apply because the toxic cocktail of drugs did not enter his body. They also said a previously unsuccessful execution attempt did not affect the constitutionality of his death sentence.
“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,” wrote Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger.
Broom was sentenced to die for raping and killing 14-year-old Tryna Middleton after abducting her in Cleveland in 1984 as she walked home from a Friday night football game with two friends, the Associated Press reported.
His execution was stopped by Governor Ted Strickland after an execution team tried for two hours to find a suitable vein. Broom has said he was stuck with needles at least 18 times, with pain so intense he cried and screamed.
The majority opinion said it was unclear why Broom’s veins couldn't be accessed, a fact that brings the rejection of his appeal into question, Justice Judi French wrote in a dissent.
“If the state cannot explain why the Broom execution went wrong, then the state cannot guarantee that the outcome will be different next time,” she said
Broom’s lawyers have not yet decided whether they will appeal.
“We are going to be assessing our options,” lawyer Adele Shank told NBC News.
The state has not set an execution date for Broom, and all its lethal injections are on hold until 2017 because it has not been able to obtain the drugs needed under its death row protocol.