Lucasville, OH - The execution of death row inmate Alva Campbell, 69, was scheduled for Wednesday morning, but was called off after prison staff were unable to find a vein to administer the lethal injection.
Campbell's medical problems have been reported to be extensive, and a special wedge-shaped pillow had been provided to help him breathe during the execution, according to NBC News.
Staff members tried to locate a vein for about 30 minutes, and in four different places, according to media witnesses who were present.
Gary Mohr, head of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said that it was his decision to call a halt to the execution. He made the decision after it became unlikely a suitable injection site could be found.
Campbell is on death row for the murder of Charles Dials in Columbus on April 2, 1997, according to WOSU.
On the day he murdered Dials, prosecutors said that Campbell faked paralysis just before a court appearance for aggravated robbery charges.
As he was being wheeled into the courtroom, he took a gun from a deputy sheriff, and then forced 18-year-old Dials to drive him around the city for three hours until he executed the terrified teenager as he cowered in the floorboard of his truck.
He had previously served 20 years for another, unrelated murder.
Campbell's attorneys said that he is not faking his illnesses now, and have been relentlessly submitting motions about their client's failing health and abusive upbringing, both reasons they say should spare Campbell his life.
A prison doctor has said that Campbell has chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder as the result of a decades-long smoking habit.
His attorneys said that executing him would be so painful that it would violate the constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
Appeals courts and the Ohio Parole Board disagreed, and Governor John Kasich has previously denied clemency to Campbell.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien told the parole board during one hearing, "It is easy to blame deceased parents or a childhood for mistakes or even crimes — but not for two separate murders committed decades apart."
On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court refused to stop the execution.
During one appeal, Campbell himself said that a firing squad would be "a better alternative," but they are not allowed under current Ohio law.
The state of Ohio resumed lethal injections this year after a three-year delay in obtaining lethal injection drugs.
Campbell’s attorneys have also claimed that the killer is allergic to midazolam, the sedative Ohio uses in its lethal injection.
A new execution date has been scheduled for 2019.