Doyle Lee Hamm dies


Doyle Lee Hamm, who survived a horrifically botched execution in Alabama’s Holman Correctional Facility in 2018, died late last month in prison.

The cause was complications from lymphoma and cranial cancer. He was 64. reported that Hamm was buried last Friday in Cherokee, Alabama. His longtime attorney, Bernard Harcourt, who was at the gravesite, said in a statement that “It was a simple country service with about 35 persons in attendance, including family and friends — his brother, nephews and nieces, grandniece, and many friends and men from the Kairos [prison] ministry.”

Hamm had been battling cancer since 2014. His condition was so severe it was the reason the state’s efforts to execute him resulted in what Harcourt described afterward as “torture.”

In a blog post, Harcourt recounted the execution in horrifying detail. “The IV personnel almost certainly punctured Doyle’s bladder, because he was urinating blood for the next day. They may have hit his femoral artery as well, because suddenly there was a lot of blood gushing out. There were multiple puncture wounds on the ankles, calf, and right groin area, around a dozen. . . . He seems to have six puncture marks in his right groin, and large bruising and swelling in the groin. . . . Doyle was lying there praying and hoping that they would succeed because of the pain, and collapsed when they took him off the gurney.”

For Harcourt, what made the almost three-hour attempt to kill his client even worse was that he had warned corrections officials and the courts that Hamm’s doctor had determined that his “lymphatic cancer was likely to interfere with any attempt to utilize his central veins.” To go ahead with the execution would result in a “bloody mess.”

In the aftermath, the New York Times reported, Harcourt filed a civil rights suit stating that the botched execution constituted cruel and unusual punishment and indicated that he would challenge further attempts to execute Hamm as subjecting him to double jeopardy.

One month later, the state entered into a confidential settlement with Hamm “preventing any further execution attempts.” In addition, the state was forced to make public its previously secret lethal injection protocol and release its records relating to Hamm’s execution.

Hamm was sentenced to death in 1987 after being convicted of murdering a motel clerk, Patrick Cunningham, during a robbery

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