Death Penalty. If At First You Don’t Succeed-Execute ’em Again?

I don’t know exactly where I got this idea from, but I always thought if any state botched an execution, they didn’t get a second chance. The condemned man (or woman), or so I believed, would be consigned to life in prison. I guess I was wrong on that one!

The state of Ohio tried to execute a convicted murderer/rapist named the other day. In fact, they spent two solid hours trying to find a vein suitable to inject a lethal cocktail of drugs. No luck.

So, they’ve decided to try again next week.

There is precedent for this. Back in 1946, the state of Louisiana tried and failed to electrocute convicted murderer Willie Francis. They succeeded the following year, after the Supreme Court ruled in essence that once is not enough in the case of execution attempts.

Ohio itself has had it’s share of problems with lethal injection protocols. Twice before, executions were delayed for more than an hour because the executioners couldn’t find a suitable vein. As you might expect, a number of civil liberties groups like the ACLU want to stop Ohio from taking a second shot at Romell Broom. One of his lawyers, who watched the attempt Tuesday on a closed circuit television screen, said Broom was in obvious pain during the botched procedure.

Romell Broom
Romell Broom

The question then becomes whether pain inflicted during an unsuccessful execution becomes cruel and unusual punishment. For me personally, the answer is simple. I am opposed to capital punishment. I don’t believe the state has the right to murder any more than any citizen does, period. However, I have many friends, good people, who disagree with me on this.

They point to the pain and suffering of the victim, who, in the case of Romell Broom, was a 14 year old girl named Tryna Middleton. She was abducted, raped, and murdered by this man back in 1984. If she were alive, she’d be one year shy of her 40th birthday. There is a case to be made for taking into account the fact that her life was cut short by the senseless act of a lowlife.

Bessye Middleton holds a painting of her daughter, Tryna, in Cleveland Heights on Sept. 8. Romell Broom was to be executed Tuesday for raping and murdering Tryna in 1984, but the fatal drugs could not be administered.
Bessye Middleton holds a painting of her daughter, Tryna, in Cleveland Heights on Sept. 8. Romell Broom was to be executed Tuesday for raping and murdering Tryna in 1984, but the fatal drugs could not be administered.

And yet, what is gained by trying to kill Romell Broom next week? The state of Ohio obviously doesn’t have its act together when it comes to executions. Cold comfort comes from Terry Collins, director of the state’s corrections department. “ I have confidence that my team will be able to do its job.”

Like he’s talking about a bunch of Starbucks baristas.

Legal experts say they doubt a second execution attempt will take place as scheduled next Tuesday. Legal appeals are almost certain to derail that. Yet in the end, Ohio seems bound and determined to take a second shot here. What do you think?

Should Ohio make a second attempt at executing convicted murderer Romell Broom?

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