Ohio executioners fail to find vein

A death row prisoner was driven to trying to insert lethal injection needles into his own arms after executioners spent more than two hours failing to find suitable veins.

Romell Broom was seen sobbing as executioners at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in the United States repeatedly botched attempts to attach the IV tubes that deliver three lethal chemicals into the blood stream.

Eventually, two-and-a-half hours after Broom first approached the death chamber, he was given a week's reprieve by Ted Strickland, the governor of Ohio.

Broom's execution was initially set for 10am local time but delays in a last-gasp and ultimately unsuccessful legal appeal against execution meant the attempts to fix IV tubes did not start until 2pm. The brief stay of execution was ordered at 4.30pm.

Mr Strictland agreed to the stay after the prisoner's lawyer, Tim Sweeney, pointed out in a note to the Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Moyer that to prolong the procedure would violate Ohio's law that lethal injections are supposed to be "quick and painless". He added: "Any further attempts today to carry out the execution of Mr Broom would be cruel and unusual punishment."

Prisons director Terry Collins said that the botched execution "absolutely, positively" did not shake his faith in lethal injections.

Broom, 53, was condemned to death for raping and murdering Tryna Middleton, a 14-year-old girl, after abducting her at knifepoint in 1984.

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