U.S. Death Penalty: Botched Executions And Suicide AttemptsAugust 5, 2013
Back in 2010, the cruelty – and absurdity – of the death penalty was on full display when Brandon Rhode tried to commit suicide just days before he was to be executed by the state of Georgia. The state rushed him to the hospital and saved his life – only to execute him a week later.
The suicide attempt reportedly left Rhode brain damaged. He was shackled to a restraint chair for the next 7 days, and then the execution proceeded. The lethal injection may have been botched, as Rhode’s eyes remained open the entire time.
This weekend, Billy Slagle was found hanged in his cell on Ohio’s death row. Slagle died three days before the state of Ohio was to execute him. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has promised a “complete investigation.”
[pullquote text=”These appalling episodes should be enough to convince Ohio, Georgia, and the other 30 capital punishment states, that it is long past time to get out of the execution business.”] The man who prosecuted Billy Slagle had tried to have his sentence commuted, without success. Slagle committed his brutal crime 26 years ago when he was just 18 years old, and had been, in the words of his attorney, “exposed to alcohol from the womb to the crime.” (Brandon Rhode had also committed his crime at 18 after a childhood of exposure to alcohol and drug abuse.)
Ohio, of course, is the state that in 2009, notoriously failed it its attempt to execute Romell Broom, trying for two miserable hours – and at times, with Broom’s assistance – to find a vein in which to inject the lethal drugs.
Romell Broom is still alive, Brandon Rhode was executed, and Billy Slagle died before he could be put to death. All were convicted of terrible crimes and were then subjected to shameful cruelties. There is no good reason why it has to be this way. These appalling episodes ought to be enough to convince Ohio, Georgia, and the other 30 capital punishment states, that it is long past time to get out of the execution business.