Death Row Inmate Who Survived 18 Lethal Injections Ended Up Dying Of Something Completely Different

Death row inmate Romel Broom survived his execution after 18 attempts. He then ended up dying of something else entirely.
Credit: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Romell Broom, the death row inmate who survived his execution after 18 attempts to administer a lethal injection, ended up dying behind bars of something completely different. 

Surviving an execution sounds like something straight out of science fiction – but from time to time, it does actually happen.

But surviving a whopping 18 lethal injections is extremely unusual.

Unbelievably, there is one prisoner who achieved this feat.

However, he did end up dying behind bars – but of something completely different…

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Broom spent more than half his life on death row following the kidnapping, r*** and murder of 14-year-old Tryna Middleton as she walked home in 1984.

Throughout his time behind bars, the inmate pleaded his innocence and in 2003, he took a DNA test which was unable to clear his name, according to the Mirror.

Broom’s execution was then scheduled for September 15, 2009, however, the plan ended up being aborted.

The inmate had been strapped to a table and attempts were made to inject him with the lethal injection.

Despite inserting the IV into 18 different areas across Broom’s legs and arms, prison personnel were unable to find a suitable vein. Reportedly, one attempt led to a bone being struck.

The inmate is believed to have tried helping them by moving his arms up and down while flexing his fingers.

But whenever they tried to access a vein, it would apparently collapse.

Romell Broom
Romell Broom survived 18 attempts to administer a lethal injection. Credit: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

A different strategy was then introduced, with Broom sitting upright on the table while the execution team attempted to insert shunts into his legs.

A shunt is a small hole or passage that moves or allows movement, meaning fluid can move from one point of the body to another.

However, this reportedly caused Broom pain and after two hours, officials gave up.

The inmate’s execution date was then postponed to September 22, but there was an issue – officials were unable to find a way to kill Broom that wouldn’t amount to torture in violation of the US Constitution.

This led to Broom’s execution being put off indefinitely.

Amnesty International was campaigning to save the inmate’s life – with there even being a documentary made about the botched execution, while Broom himself co-wrote a book titled ‘Survivor on Death Row’.

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Meanwhile, the inmate would also challenge the state’s authority by attempting to execute him a second time. He reportedly argued that it would violate the constitutional prohibition against twice placing a person in jeopardy of life.

However, in March 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled against this argument, with Justice Judith Lanzing stating that the botched execution did not constitute a failed execution.

The courts argued that as the IV line had never been successfully connected, Broom’s life had never been in jeopardy during his execution attempt.

Broom’s new execution date was set for June 17, 2020, but was eventually postponed again due to the lack of lethal injection drugs available.

This was then rescheduled to March 16, 2022, but months beforehand the inmate passed away behind bars – and not due to execution at all.

Broom died aged 64 years old on December 28, 2020.

His actual cause of death was reported to be complications related to Covid-19, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

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Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.