This Inmate Wished For Quicker Death During Botched Execution Attempt

"This was clearly a botched execution that can only be accurately described as torture,” the inmate’s attorney said after he was examined by Dr. Mark Heath.



Convicted murderer Doyle Lee Hamm, whose execution on Feb. 22 had to be postponed because the execution team could not find a usable vein, said the attempt was so painful he prayed for a quicker death.

During the failed execution attempt, he "was lying there praying and hoping that they would succeed because of the pain, and collapsed when they took him off the gurney," said the inmate’s attorney, Bernard Harcourt.

The lawyer filed appeals in two courts and was permitted a doctor of his choosing to examine his client. 

Hamm’s medical reports showed the death-row prisoner had puncture marks in his legs as well as his groin, as the executioner could not find a proper vein and wanted to execute him before the death warrant expired.

Harcourt said his client, who is also a cancer survivor, was “tortured.”

"This was clearly a botched execution that can only be accurately described as torture,” Harcourt said after Hamm was examined by Dr. Mark Heath.

According to reports, there was a pressure to execute Hamm before the clock was to strike midnight.

"The only indication I have is that in their medical judgment it was more of a time issue, given the late hour," Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn said.

The reports also suggested the IV team may have probed his bladder and femoral artery by “mashing” needles into his already compromised veins.

"During this time Mr. Hamm began to hope that the doctor would succeed in obtaining IV access so that Mr. Hamm could 'get it over with' because he preferred to die rather than to continue to experience the ongoing severe pain," Heath wrote in the report.

After trying to search for viable vein for a few minutes, a doctor and an assistant suggested the needle could be injected in groin vein, but that too failed horribly. 

"At one point a large amount of blood began to accumulate in the region of Mr. Hamm’s groin. The blood soaked a pad or drape, and another one was applied,” the report read.

The execution was immediately called off by a prison official, but the medical workers kept on trying, according to Hamm.

"The doctor then moved to Mr. Hamm’s feet and began examining them and palpating them, stating that he had not had an opportunity to attempt access in the feet," the report said. "The man [execution monitor] then told the doctor to 'get out.'"

But the officials thought torturing someone was not a problem.

"I wouldn't necessarily characterize what we had tonight as a problem," Dunn said in a statement given out after the horrifying incident.

It is to be noted that before the day of execution, Hamm’s attorney had warned the officials that it would be impossible to find viable veins as he had a long history of drug use because of his illness.

However, a judge ruled that Hamm’s arms must not be probed. Moreover, the Supreme Court declined to halt the execution.

Though Hamm is now seriously ill because of the inhumane torture, Dunn said he didn’t think this incident will prevent the state prison from trying to execute him again.

Harcourt asked for the execution chamber and the workers be examined but was turned down.

The Department of Corrections is, however, obliged to save notes and materials, including Hamm’s clothes.


Hamm was convicted for killing a motel clerk, Patrick Cunningham, in 1987. The clerk was shot in the head during an overnight shift at Cullman motel.

Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Pexels

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