This image provided by the Alabama Department of Corrections shows Doyle Lee Hamm, an inmate scheduled to be executed Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 in Alabama. Alabama is set to execute Hamm, who argues his past drug use and cancer have too badly damaged his veins and will make the lethal injection unconstitutionally painful. (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP)

The Latest: Officials couldn't connect line to inmate

February 23, 2018 - 1:39 am
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ATMORE, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on the scheduled execution of an Alabama inmate (all times local):

12:30 a.m.

Alabama's prison commissioner says the state halted an inmate's execution by lethal injection because medical staff were having difficulty connecting an intravenous line.

Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn said Friday morning that staff did not think they could get the line connected before the death warrant expired at midnight Thursday. Dunn said it was a "time issue." Officials first announced at 11:35 p.m. Thursday that the execution had been halted.

Hamm's attorney, Bernard Harcourt, said he had been arguing since July that Hamm's veins were too compromised by illness for lethal injection.

Harcourt had argued that lymphoma, drug use and hepatitis C had compromised Hamm's veins to the point that lethal injection would be both difficult and unconstitutionally cruel.

Alabama prison officials had told the courts that they planned to connect the intravenous line to usable veins below the knee.

Hamm was sentenced to die after being convicted of murder in the 1987 slaying of a motel clerk.

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11:45 a.m.

Alabama officials have postponed a scheduled execution, saying there was not enough time to prepare the inmate before a death warrant expires at midnight.

Doyle Lee Hamm was scheduled to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Thursday, but the U.S. Supreme Court delayed the execution while it considered Hamm's request to block it. The court ruled about 9 p.m. that officials could proceed with the execution.

Prison spokesman Bob Horton said there was insufficient time to prepare the inmate.

Hamm was sentenced to death for the 1987 murder of Cullman motel clerk Patrick Cunningham during a robbery in which $410 was stolen. Cunningham was shot in the head.

Hamm's attorney had sought to stop the lethal injection. He argued that lymphoma, drug use and hepatitis C had compromised Hamm's veins to the point that lethal injection would be both difficult and unconstitutionally cruel.

Alabama prison officials have told the courts that they plan to connect the intravenous line to usable veins in Hamm's lower extremities.

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9 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a last-minute bid to halt the execution of an Alabama inmate convicted of the 1987 killing of a motel clerk.

Justices ruled Thursday evening that Alabama could proceed with the lethal injection execution of 61-year-old Doyle Lee Hamm. It was originally scheduled for 6 p.m., but the court temporarily delayed it while it considered Hamm's bid to halt it.

Corrections spokesman Bob Horton said the execution would move forward shortly.

Hamm was convicted in the 1987 killing of motel clerk Patrick Cunningham. Cunningham was shot once in the head during a robbery where $410 was taken.

Hamm's attorney had argued that lymphoma and past drug use have damaged his veins too much for a lethal injection.

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6 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court has delayed the lethal injection of an Alabama inmate as it considers his request to block the execution.

Justices issued the temporary stay at 6 p.m. Thursday, the same time that Doyle Lee Hamm was scheduled to be executed. The court will decide later whether to let the execution proceed Thursday evening.

Hamm's attorney argued that lymphoma and past drug use have damaged his veins too much for a lethal injection. Alabama prison officials have told the courts that they plan to connect the intravenous line to usable veins in Hamm's lower extremities.

Hamm was convicted in the 1987 killing of motel clerk Patrick Cunningham.

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4:30 p.m.

The Alabama attorney general's office is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reject an inmate's request to halt his upcoming execution.

State lawyers on Thursday argued that the execution can be safely carried out, and there is no evidence that the inmate's medical conditions will complicate the procedure.

Doyle Lee Hamm is scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. by lethal injection for the 1987 killing of motel clerk Patrick Cunningham.

Hamm has asked justices to halt his execution. His attorney argued that lymphoma and past drug use have damaged his veins too much for a lethal injection.

Alabama prison officials have told the courts that they plan to connect the intravenous line to usable veins in Hamm's lower extremities.

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3:23 p.m.

An Alabama inmate is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to look at his case just hours before he is scheduled for execution.

A lawyer for Doyle Lee Hamm asked the court Thursday to consider whether federal courts should be involved in developing execution procedures for infirm inmates.

The 61-year-old Doyle has argued that illnesses and past drug use have damaged his veins too much for a lethal injection.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals already has refused to stop Doyle's execution, set for Thursday night. The judges said an expert found veins where a lethal dose could be administered.

Hamm is on death row for the 1987 killing of motel clerk Patrick Cunningham. Prosecutors say Cunningham was fatally shot during a robbery in which $410 was taken.

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12:45 p.m.

An appellate court will not stop tonight's scheduled execution of an Alabama inmate.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday denied a request from Doyle Lee Hamm to stop his execution.

Hamm was convicted in the 1987 killing of motel clerk Patrick Cunningham. Prosecutors said Cunningham was shot once in the head while working an overnight shift in which $410 was taken.

Hamm, who was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma in 2014, has argued that the illness, prior drug use and hepatitis C have damaged his veins to the point that lethal injection would be both difficult and unconstitutionally painful.

The appellate court, in an opinion, said a medical expert found that Hamm has some useable veins where the execution drugs could be administered.

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5:07 a.m.

Alabama is set to execute an inmate who argues his past drug use and cancer have too badly damaged his veins and will make the lethal injection unconstitutionally painful.

Doyle Lee Hamm is scheduled to be put to death Thursday evening, convicted in the 1987 killing of motel clerk Patrick Cunningham. Prosecutors said Cunningham was shot once in the head while working an overnight shift in which $410 was taken.

Hamm was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma in 2014. His attorney urged the courts to block the execution, citing damage to Hamm's veins from cancer, hepatitis C and former drug use.

The state has indicated it will adjust its injection process by connecting an intravenous line to Hamm's legs or feet — after a medical expert said those veins were accessible.

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