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Lethal injection delayed after execution team couldn't find convicted killer's vein

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The execution of a chronically ill inmate in Ohio has been delayed after several unsuccessful attempts to find a vein to inject lethal drugs.

In a rare move, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican who previously rejected Alva Campbell's request for clemency, issued a temporary reprieve Wednesday after the inmate's medical team failed to "gain intravenous access," Ohio prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said in a prepared statement to The Washington Post.

Smith said the governor will set a new execution date for Campbell.

"This is a day I'll never forget," Campbell said, according to his attorney, Steve Stebbins. Stebbins told The Associated Press that after the execution was halted, Campbell shook hands with the medical personnel handling his execution.

Stebbins could not immediately be reached for comment by The Post.

After several attempts Wednesday to get an IV in Campbell's arms and right leg, Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, put an end to it.

"It was my decision that it was not likely that we're going to access veins," he told The Associated Press about Campbell, who was given a wedge-shaped pillow to lie on to help him breathe during the execution.

Campbell, 69, was scheduled to die after killing a teenager during a carjacking in April 1997. The Associated Press reported that Campbell, who had already served time in prison for another murder, had pretended to be paralyzed to escape from custody on his way to a court hearing on armed robbery charges.

Then Campbell stole a deputy's gun and carjacked 18-year-old Charles Dials, driving the teenager around for hours before shooting him in the head, according to court documents cited by the news agency.

In a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court requesting a stay of execution, attorneys for Campbell argued that the inmate is allergic to the lethal drugs and that his veins are "unsuitable for IV access."

"Campbell suffers from lung cancer, COPD, respiratory failure, prostate cancer, hip replacement, and severe pneumonia," they wrote. "Campbell must take oxygen treatments four times a day in order to function, and he relies on a walker for very limited mobility."

Campbell had previously requested to be executed by firing squad, according to the court documents, but Ohio state law does not permit it.

It states:

. . . A death sentence shall be executed by causing the application to the person, upon whom the sentence was imposed, of a lethal injection of a drug or combination of drugs of sufficient dosage to quickly and painlessly cause death. The application of the drug or combination of drugs shall be continued until the person is dead. The warden of the correctional institution in which the sentence is to be executed or another person selected by the director of rehabilitation and correction shall ensure that the death sentence is executed.

Campbell's attorneys argued in the petition to the Supreme Court that the execution protocol was likely to cause him "needless" pain and suffering.

The court rejected his request.

Smith, with the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said the new execution date will be listed Wednesday in formal reprieve documents.

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