Alabama inmate who survived attempted execution dies of cancer

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) – An Alabama inmate whose lethal injection was interrupted because medical staff could not find a suitable vein for execution died of natural causes almost four years later his lawyer said on Monday.

Doyle Lee Hamm, who was convicted of murdering a motel worker in 1987, died of natural causes on death row, his longtime lawyer Bernard Harcourt said. He was 64 years old.

Alabama officials postponed Hamm’s execution to February 2018 because workers couldn’t find a suitable vein to connect to the intravenous line used to send deadly chemicals into his body. Hamm and the state struck a deal the following month that barred further execution attempts, but he remained on death row at Holman Prison due to his death sentence, Harcourt said.

Hamm suffered from aggressive lymphatic cancer for years, Harcourt said. Holman’s manager called Hamm’s brother to inform him of the prisoner’s death on Sunday morning, Harcourt said.

“Doyle will be remembered for his generous and forgiving spirit and his ability to always remain positive even in the face of the most terrible adversities. He will be missed by his friends and family, ”Harcourt wrote in a tribute.

Neither the Department of Corrections nor the state attorney general’s office immediately responded to emails requesting information about Hamm’s death.

Hamm was convicted of the murder of motel clerk Patrick Cunningham, who was shot in the head while working nights at a motel in Cullman. Police said $ 410 was stolen in a heist.

Hamm confessed to police and he was convicted after two accomplices testified against him in exchange for permission to plead guilty to less serious offenses, court documents show.

Diagnosed in 2014 with B cell lymphoma, Hamm argued before the scheduled execution that the blood cancer had progressed while the state claimed he was in remission.

In the days leading up to his execution, state prison officials told courts they planned to connect the intravenous line below Hamm’s knee after a medical exam ordered by a federal judge found that he did not have easily usable veins in his upper limbs. The state had expressed confidence that Hamm had usable veins, but workers were unable to find a suitable one on the day of the scheduled lethal injection.

The United States Supreme Court had authorized the execution, but the state ultimately quashed it due to the issue.

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