The February 1998 trial of Alva Campbell.
All images photographed on Fuji film using Canon F-1 & T-90 cameras with L series lenses. Digitized with Kodak RFS 2035 plus film scanners.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Corrections postponed the execution of Alva Campbell on November 15, 2017 after failing to find a viable vein for a lethal injection — but it plans to try again. Ohio Governor John Kasich said that the execution has been rescheduled to June 5, 2019.
Prison officials had been warned about Alva Campbell’s extensive health problems but said they were confident they could carry out the execution.
They provided a wedge-shaped pillow to help him breathe during the procedure, but it was problems with his veins that caused the issue. The team tried for about 30 minutes to find an injection site before the execution was called off, according to media witnesses.
“It was my decision that it was not likely that we’re going to access veins,” said Gary Mohr, head of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, according to the Associated Press.
Gov. John Kasich, who rejected clemency for Campbell, will set the new execution date, according to the correction department.
Campbell, 69, is on death row for shooting 18-year-old Charles Dials in cold blood during a carjacking following his 1997 escape from custody on armed robbery charges.
Campbell, who had already served 20 years for an earlier murder, pretended he was paralyzed to stage that getaway. But his lawyers say there is nothing fake about his illnesses now.
“Campbell suffers from lung cancer, COPD, respiratory failure, prostate cancer, hip replacement, and severe pneumonia,” they wrote in a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court. “Campbell must take oxygen treatments four times a day in order to function, and he relies on a walker for very limited mobility.”
His legal team also says he is also allergic to midazolam, the sedative Ohio uses in its lethal injection.
His medical condition sets the stage for an execution that is so excruciating that it would violate the constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment, defense lawyers argued in their briefs.
At one point during the appeals process, Campbell suggested that a firing squad would be a better alternative, but that’s not allowed under current Ohio law.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction had acknowledged it had problems finding a vein during a recent exam, and the 10 a.m. execution was delayed for about an hour Wednesday morning while officials assessed the situation.
The execution team tried to put the needle in four places before witnesses were told to leave the death chamber and Mohr announced the execution would not happen, witnesses said.
The Supreme Court had rejected Campbell’s last-ditch request for a stay of execution on Tuesday. He was also denied clemency by a parole board that was told of an abysmal upbringing rife with sexual abuse and beatings.
“It is easy to blame deceased parents or a childhood for mistakes or even crimes — but not for two separate murders committed decades apart,” Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien told the parole board.