Death Row Inmate Sues After 'Botched' Execution

An Alabama death row inmate is suing following a botched execution that has been described as “physical and psychological torture.”

Death row inmate Doyle Lee Hamm, who has been on death row for 30 years for the 1987 murder of a motel clerk, is asking that his sentence be vacated following a two-and-a-half hour “botched and bloody” execution attempt on Feb. 22, ABC 57 reports. During the execution attempt, the execution team was unable to find to find a good vein to inject the lethal medication, leading to them simultaneously working “on both legs at the same time, probing his flesh and inserting needles."

A medical examination performed by an outside physician revealed 11 puncture wounds on Hamm’s body, including his arms, ankles and groin. Pictures taken during the examination reportedly showed bruising in his legs, feet and groin.

“Multiple times, the execution team tried to insert a needle or catheter into Doyle Hamm's right groin, causing severe bleeding and pain. The staff put a pad on his groin to absorb the blood and had to change the pad during the procedure when the pad became completely soaked with blood,” court filings state.

“To say this was a botched execution is an understatement," said Robert Dunham, executive director of the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center. "When you see the pictures of the groin, you don't see bruising like that in a properly set line. This man was strapped to a gurney for 2½ hours, and during that period, they literally poked holes in him."


Hamm’s defense team is now asking for relief from his “unconstitutional sentence of death,” claiming that the botched procedure, during which time Hamm reportedly wished that he’d die, was a "constitutionally prohibited cruel, unnecessarily painful, slow, and lingering process to death." They are also claiming that a second execution attempt would be double jeopardy, protected by the Fifth Amendment.

Prior to the botched execution, Hamm’s attorney, Barnard Harcourt, had requested that Hamm be executed by “oral lethal injection,” arguing that because his client’s veins had become compromised due to “active lymphatic cancer" and years of drug use, death by lethal injection would amount to “cruel and unusual punishment.” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall's office countered, stating that Hamm had waited too long challenge the method of execution.