MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The state of Alabama must seek a new execution date for a condemned inmate if it still wants to execute him following an unexpected postponement.
Prison officials halted preparations for Doyle Lee Hamm's lethal injection late Thursday because medical staff said they couldn't find a suitable vein before the execution warrant expired.
The prisoner has argued in court that years of drug use and illness left his veins unusable for authorities to kill him by lethal injection.
The delay means the state attorney general's office must ask the Alabama Supreme Court for a new execution date if it still intends to execute Hamm.
The attorney general's office didn't immediately respond to a message about its plans on Friday.
Alabama's prison commissioner says the state halted an inmate's execution by lethal injection because medical staff were having difficulty connecting an intravenous line.
Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn said Friday morning that staff did not think they could get the line connected before the death warrant expired at midnight Thursday. Dunn said it was a "time issue." Officials first announced at 11:35 p.m. Thursday that the execution had been halted.
Hamm's attorney, Bernard Harcourt, said he had been arguing since July that Hamm's veins were too compromised by illness for lethal injection.
Harcourt had argued that lymphoma, drug use and hepatitis C had compromised Hamm's veins to the point that lethal injection would be both difficult and unconstitutionally cruel.
Alabama prison officials had told the courts that they planned to connect the intravenous line to usable veins below the knee.
Hamm was sentenced to die after being convicted of murder in the 1987 slaying of a motel clerk.
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