Alabama is planning to execute again-3 weeks after botched execution; attorneys say he is mentally ill


Tomorrow, on the three-week anniversary of the botched execution of Doyle Lee Hamm, which left him bruised, bleeding and limping after a two-and-a-half hour attempt by corrections officials to kill him, Alabama will try to execute another prisoner. reports that Michael Wayne Eggers is scheduled to be executed Thursday for the December 2000 murder of Bennie Francis Murray during the course of a kidnapping and robbery. says his attorneys have asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay of execution to review the case based on the fact that Eggers is “severely mentally ill.” The lawyers explain that Eggers hears voices and believes that “bikers” and members of the “Mexican Mafia” are trying to kill him, and that his prison food is being poisoned.

But not only is the state preparing to execute a mentally ill man, but they’re planning to do it just three weeks after Hamm’s lawyer warned corrections officials that because of Hamm’s physical condition — he is terminally ill with cranial and lymphatic cancer — the state’s method of execution was unlikely to work, and the net result would be a botched execution at best, and an excruciating, horrific murder at worst. Harcourt referred to the opinion of Dr. Mark Heath, a Columbia University Medical Center anesthesiologist who examined Hamm to determine whether his peripheral veins could be injected with the state’s lethal drug cocktail. Heath concluded they could not, and that his “lymphatic cancer was likely to interfere with any attempt to utilize his central veins.”

But the state tried anyway, and the result was that, as his lawyer explained, Hamm was “tortured” for two-and-a-half hours while officials tried to find a viable vein in which to inject the lethal drugs.

As his lawyer wrote, “During the execution, Doyle was lying there praying and hoping that they would succeed because of the pain, and collapsed when they took him off the gurney. This went beyond ghoulish justice and cruel and unusual punishment.”

Wouldn’t you think the State of Alabama might take more than three weeks to think about what went wrong with Hamm, and how they might need to review their execution protocol, or even put a hold on executions and have an independent commission review how its death penalty is carried out? Do they really want to rush right back in and execute a mentally ill man? Have they no sense of decency?

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