In 1984, Romell Broom was convicted for raping and killing 14-year-old Tryna Middleton. After courts proved that he kidnapped Middleton while she walked home after a football game in Cleveland, Broom was sentenced to death.
Broom’s execution by lethal injection was set for 2009. However, when prison officials attempted to execute the convicted killer, they could not find a vein strong enough to take the needle.
Executioners attempted to find a usable vein 18 times. During their painful efforts, Broom cried and screamed out in pain. Ted Strickland, then the governor, stopped the execution after two hours of failed attempts.
Broom is the only inmate is modern history to survive an execution attempt. The last time it happened was in 1947 when 18-year-old Willie Francis survived his first execution attempt due to a faulty electric chair.
After Broom survived the first attempt, Broom and his lawyers argued that no second attempt to execute him could occur without violating his constitutional right prohibiting double jeopardy and requested that he be taken off of death row. Broom tried to appeal the second attempt, saying it would “cruel and unusual punishment.”
In March of this year, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a second attempt should occur because the first attempt was not a full attempt. The court said the botched execution attempt had stopped short of a fulfilled punishment.
"The execution commences when the lethal drug enters the IV line. In this case, because the attempt did not proceed to the point of injection of a lethal drug into the IV line, jeopardy never attached," wrote Ohio Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger.
Now, Broom and his lawyers have taken his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to ask them to halt the second attempt. Broom’s lawyers presented a petition that once again argues another attempt would be cruel and unusual punishment and would violate double jeopardy protections under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.
U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost ruled in August that Broom could continue to argue that a second execution try would be an unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.
(Photo: David J Sams/Getty Images)