Alabama is set to execute a cancer-stricken inmate despite his plea to spare him the potentially unnecessary pain.
Doyle Lee Hamm , 61, argues that his veins are too damaged from cancer and past drug use, and the lethal injection would be unconstitutionally painful.
He was convicted of fatally shooting motel clerk Patrick Cunningham in 1987.
A judge denied his request and said the state would not use any veins in his arms and hands in Thursday’s execution.
“The court’s independent medical expert reported that Mr Hamm has accessible peripheral veins in his lower extremities, and that the peripheral veins in his upper extremities, while accessible, would be more difficult to access and would require a more advanced practitioner using ultrasound guidance,”US Chief District Judge Karon O Bowdre wrote in her order on Tuesday.
Hamm was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma in 2014. His lawyer has argued that cancer, hepatitis C and previous drug use compromised his veins and could result in a botched execution.
His lawyer, *Bernard Harcourt,* unsuccessfully urged the state to block the execution several times. Mr Harcourt also argued that the state should not kill a man already dying with cancer.
“We’ve past the point of ghoulish justice,” Mr Harcourt told the New York Daily News on Thursday. “We are at the point of human sacrifice.”
But the state said Hamm has been in remission from cancer since 2016, according to Alabama Public Radio.
Experts at the United Nations supported Mr Harcourt’s claim and encouraged Alabama to halt his execution, saying that killing Hamm in his condition could amount to cruel or unusual punishment.
“We are seriously concerned that attempts to insert needles into Mr Hamm’s veins to carry out the lethal injection would inflict pain and suffering that may amount to torture,” the UN said in a statement.
Alabama officials said they will alter their traditional execution protocols and instead connect an intravenous line to Hamm’s legs or feet after an expert determined those veins would be accessible.
In a Facebook video posted on Wednesday, Alabama Attorney General *Steve Marshall said that “I will not request that Doyle Hamm’s execution be stopped, but instead I will ask that justice be served”.
He asserted that Hamm’s crime of killing Cunnigham, a father of two, was worthy of the death penalty.
Hamm’s execution is scheduled for 18:00 local time (00:00 GMT) on 22 February.