Talk of luxury before death, that’s exactly how a condemned inmate will spend his last minutes before his debilitating death in Ohio. The inmate will be provided with a wedge-shaped pillow that will help him breathe as he’s being executed this week – the state is also considering to provide him with other accommodations.
Alva Campbell is a death row prisoner who has said he is too ill for lethal injection; he became mildly agitated when officials tried lowering him to a normal execution position, according to a medical review by a physician contractor for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Surprisingly, His anxiety was not accompanied by any objective findings such as increased pulse rate or breathing to back up his claims - Dr. James McWeeney noted. Nonetheless, the doctor recommended that Campbell be allowed to lie “in a semi-recumbent position” during the execution.
Unfortunately, the same exam was not able to find veins suitable for inserting an IV on either of Campbell’s arms. The 69 – year old has severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder as the result of a decades-long two-pack-a-day smoking habit.
Reports from Campbell’s attorneys indicate that he uses a walker, relies on a colostomy bag, requires four breathing treatments a day and may have lung cancer. The attorneys have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop Wednesday’s execution, due to his poor health, a motion opposed by the state.
A stern warning was also issued by his attorneys who claim that Campbell’s death could become a “spectacle” if guards are unable to find suitable veins in his arms. Sometime this month Campbell lost a bid to be executed by firing squad after a federal judge questioned whether lawmakers would enact the bill needed to allow the method.
JoEllen Smith Campbell, who is the prisons department spokeswoman, said that “medical condition and history are being assessed and considered in order to identify any necessary accommodations or contingencies for his execution.” Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien calls Campbell “the poster child for the death penalty.”
There are also prosecutors who claim that his health claims are ironic given he faked paralysis to escape court custody the day he killed a teenager during a carjacking.
Having served for 20 years, Campbell was paroled in 1992 for killing a man in a Cleveland bar. Records also indicate that on April 2, 1997, Campbell was in a wheelchair when he overpowered a Franklin County sheriff’s deputy on the way to a court hearing on several armed robbery charges.
In what appeared to be a movie, Campbell took the deputy’s gun, carjacked 18-year-old Charles Dials and drove around with him for several hours before shooting him twice in the head as Dials crouched in the footwell of his own truck. It’s not a surprise that court filings indicate that Campbell was regularly beaten, sexually abused and tortured as a child.