Alabama death row inmate who survived botched execution dies of natural causes
Doyle Hamm, an Alabama death row inmate who survived a 2018 “botched execution” attempt, has died, his lawyer confirmed to AL.com on Sunday. He was 64 years old.
Hamm, who was already terminally ill at the time of his execution, had been battling “extremely aggressive lymphoma since 2014,” said his lawyer, Bernard Harcourt. Harcourt said complications from lymphoma contributed to Hamm’s death early Sunday morning.
Hamm was sentenced to death in 1987 and served more than 33 years in prison for the murder of Patrick Cunningham, who was shot in the head while working a night shift at Anderson’s Motel in Cullman.
The state of Alabama attempted to execute Hamm by lethal injection in 2018, but he survived after the state spent two and a half hours trying to find a vein, Harcourt said at the time. Hamm likely suffered internal damage at the time, and the condition may have punctured his bladder, an artery, or both, Harcourt said after the 2018 execution attempt.
Later that year, the state of Alabama agreed to no longer set an execution date for Hamm, according to a press release from Harcourt. He and lawyers from the Alabama Attorney General’s Office reached a confidential settlement agreement in March of that year that resolved all pending litigation in federal and state courts regarding the execution of Doyle Lee Hamm. .
The scheduled execution date came after months of legal battles over whether Hamm’s veins were able to handle the IV required for the lethal drugs. Harcourt argued that Hamm’s veins had become nearly impossible to access after years of intravenous drug use and Hamm’s diagnosis and treatment of lymphatic cancer. The attorney general’s office argued at the time that Hamm’s cancer was in remission and that there was no reason for him not to be executed after spending 30 years on death row.
“The result was a sloppy and agonizing execution that left him on the stretcher for two and a half hours as they stung and pricked his legs and groin, trying to find a vein,” Harcourt said. “It was unacceptable.”
Harcourt also said Hamm received excellent medical care and special attention from Dr Connie Uzel, an oncologist in Mobile who treated Hamm.
“She was an amazing doctor for whom he was truly grateful,” Harcourt said.