Page last updated at 21:43 GMT, Thursday, 17 September 2009 22:43 UK

Bid to halt US 'vein' execution

Convicted rapist and murderer Romell Broom
Lawyers said Broom suffered mentally and physically in the first attempt

Lawyers for a US man on death row say they will try to halt a second attempt at his execution by lethal injection.

On Tuesday the execution of murderer and rapist Romell Broom was called off and delayed for a week after Ohio state officials failed to find a vein.

His lawyers demanded that the procedure be stopped after two hours, describing it as "cruel".

They say that as he survived it would amount to "cruel and unusual punishment" to try again.

Lawyer Tim Sweeney said Broom had "sustained both physical and mental injuries" during the attempt. Witnesses said he had been distressed and appeared to cry.

He told his lawyers he had been pricked by the needle up to 18 times, the Associated Press news agency reports.

It would take time for all the trauma to dissipate, Mr Sweeney said.

"Even if it never goes away, I think it's wrong to try to do it again so quickly in these circumstances."

Rare reprieve

Romell Broom has been sentenced to die for the rape and murder of 14-year-old Tryna Middleton in 1984.

The execution is now scheduled to take place on Thursday but Mr Sweeney said that would be unconstitutional.

Julie Walburn, a spokeswoman for the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, said officials were monitoring how much Broom was drinking, as a lack of fluid could make veins hard to find.

But she said there was no evidence this had been the case the first time, reported AP.

Ms Walburn told Reuters that officials were in "unchartered territory".

Broom was granted a week-long reprieve by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, the first such action by an Ohio governor since the state resumed executions in 1999.

Ohio has executed 32 inmates since then.

Several executions were delayed for at least an hour because officials had failed to properly attach intravenous tubes for the lethal injection.

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