Execution of Alabama inmate Doyle Lee Hamm called off
Doyle Lee Hamm survived his date with the executioner Thursday, as Alabama was
unable to begin the procedure before the death warrant expired at midnight.
Hamm, 61, was convicted of killing Cullman hotel clerk Patrick Cunningham in
January 1987. Recent appeals in his case involved the question of whether
cancer had left him healthy enough to be executed without excessive suffering.
Thursday night's execution originally was set for 6 p.m. A temporary stay from
the U.S. Supreme Court was lifted at about 9 p.m., leaving the state clear to
proceed. But from that point, things moved slowly. It was 10 p.m. before media
observers and other witnesses were transferred to Holman Correctional Facility.
Once on site, they were kept in vehicles outside the actual death row
facilities. Such waits are not unusual, but this one lasted well over an hour.
Shortly before 11:30 p.m., Department of Corrections officials and guards could
be seen conferring, though it was not immediately clear what was happening.
There's a recent precedent for late executions: That of Tommy Arthur, in May
2017, began only a few minutes before midnight, the time when Alabama's death
warrants expire. Arthur's time of death actually was after midnight, but the
warrants only specify that the process must begin before midnight.
A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu
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