Death Row disasters including flames shooting from head and three hours of pain

Executions, which the United States still utilises for Death Row inmates in many states, are not always as straightforward as they appear.

The ongoing issues circling the recently botched execution of Alan Eugene Miller are yet to draw to a close after a medical team tried desperately to jab a lethal injection into his foot.

Miller, a convicted murderer, is set to sue the state of Alabama for the excruciating pain they placed him in during an execution attempt, but it is not the first time the United States has had trouble killing their Death Row convicts.

READ MORE: Death Row killer survives agonising botched execution as desperate staff inject foot

Other horrifying disasters have occurred, including one prisoner whose head burst into flames.

That inmate was Pedro Medina, who was sentenced to death in 1982 for the murder of a woman in Orlando, Florida.

His execution was 15 years later, where Medina was placed into an electric chair, which malfunctioned and shot flames through his head, much to the horror of those observing.

Those in attendance for Medina's gruesome death, including a pastor, witnessed the barbaric death as "Old Sparky" malfunctioned, with a burning smell and flames emanating from the body reported.

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Horrific executions are rather common, with another prisoner suffering from "hours of pain" as his veins were sliced open in what was at the time the "longest execution" experienced.

Joe Nathan James Jr. endured "three hours of pain" during his execution for the murder of former girlfriend Faith Hall.

An autopsy for James Jr. revealed he had "struggled" during the execution, with the report reading he "had to be sedated".

Director of Reprieve US, Maya Foa said at the time: "Subjecting a prisoner to three hours of pain and suffering is the definition of cruel and unusual punishment.

"States cannot continue to pretend that the abhorrent practice of lethal injection is in any way humane."

In another cruel and unusual punishment, sicko Wesley Ira Purkey, who was executed for the rape and murder of a teenager, experienced a "near-drowning" sensation in his execution.

Purkey confessed to the crime while serving a life sentence for having beaten an 80-year-old pensioner to death with a claw hammer in 1998.

The 68-year-old's autopsy showed that the fluid had quickly entered his lungs and trachea which caused the sensation.

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Dr Gail Van Norman said that the flash-flood of Purkey's lungs can only occur when a person is still alive when strapped to the lethal injection table.

Norman added: "It is a virtual medical certainty, that most, if not all, prisoners will experience excruciating suffering, including sensations of drowning and suffocation from pentobarbital."

Another botched lethal injection came for Joseph Wood, who was sentenced to death for killing his ex-girlfriend and her father in 1989.

His execution in 2014 saw a combination of midazolam and hydromorphone injected into Wood's body 15 times, despite one dose usually being sufficient enough for a lethal dose.

Reports from those present at the execution of murderer Wood say he was like a "fish gulping for air" as he was spotted gasping 600 times.

Despite the execution scheduled to take just 10 minutes, it was over an hour before Wood died, with lawyers filing an emergency stay of execution, reporting to the Supreme Court that Wood was "gasping and snorting for more than an hour".

A judge's denial came a half hour after Wood had finally died.

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Lethal injections have come under some criticism, especially after the survival of Doyle Lee Hamm, whose botched execution saw him spend two and a half hours waiting for death.

A failed lethal injection for the 64-year-old, who died on Death Row of cancer in 2021, brought about controversy when corrections commissioner Jeff Dunn said the medical team were not given "sufficient time" to find a suitable vein on Hamm.

Hamm was the third person on Death Row to have survived a lethal injection, preceded by Romell Broom and Alva Campbell, who both died of illnesses before a new execution date could be planned.

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