The worst botched executions over the last decade include a killer whose eyes popped open and a bloke who violently vomited as his body jerked.
The oldest man currently on America's Death Row escaped execution at the last minute on Thursday after his lethal injection was botched with a cocktail of drugs that 'would have tortured' Oscar Smith, his lawyers claim.
Triple killer Smith joins a list of 276 US Death Row residents to have had their execution go awry since 1890.
Since Frank J. Coppola from Virginia went up in flames during his death by electrocution in 1982, methods of execution in America have modernised but are still not without mishaps.
Over the last decade alone several cold-blooded killers have either suffered unintentional excruciating pain from lethal injection or been able to dodge it altogether.
Vomit and jerking
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Most recently on October 28 last year, members of John Marion Grant's execution team in Oklahoma were forced to wipe vomit from his face and neck, as he threw up following the first of three drugs injected into his bloodstream.
Witness Sean Murphy said: “Grant’s body shook and jerked nearly two dozen times before vomit spurted from his mouth and spilled down his neck."
Grant was placed on Death Row after murdering prison cafeteria worker Gay Carter in 1998 following convictions for armed robbery.
Prior to the execution, lawyers argued that the state’s three-drug lethal injection protocol would cause unnecessary and excruciating pain.
Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said: “Oklahoma knew full well that this was well within the realm of possible outcomes in a midazolam execution. It didn’t care … and the Supreme Court apparently didn’t either."
No vein to inject
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Doyle Lee Hamm managed to survive Death Row in Alabama at the very last minute on February 22, 2018.
The murderer of Patrick Cunningham in 1987 had already been diagnosed with advanced lymphatic cancer and carcinoma which his legal team warned would make lethal injection impossible.
Ignoring the medical heads up, the state sanctioned Hamm's death only for executioners to spend two-and-a-half hours desperately searching for a vein to inject.
In their hunt, Hamm endured up to twelve puncture marks, including six in his groin and others that punctured his bladder and penetrated his femoral artery.
With the midnight deadline fast approaching, the execution was called off and Hamm died of cancer in prison over three years later.
Eyes popped open
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Brandon Astor Jones' eyes popped open six minutes after receiving a fatal dose which took 45 minutes to administer.
A witness said it was like the 72-year-old killer "fought death" on February 3, 2016 after executioners finally found a suitable vein in his groin.
Having received his death sentence 37 years earlier for murdering shop manager, Roger Tackett, Jones became the state of Georgia's oldest Death Row resident.
Jones' executioners spent 24 minutes trying to insert an IV into his left arm, another eight minutes trying to insert it in his right arm before going back to his left.
Eventually a doctor was asked to breach their own medical codes and insert the IV in Jones' groin, six minutes later his eyes popped open.
Snorting and gurgling
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For those watching, Dennis McGuire reacted disturbingly to his fatal doses of hydromorphone and midazolam in Ohio on January 16, 2014.
According to a lawsuit filed after his execution, McGuire spent 25 minutes suffering from "repeated cycles of snorting, gurgling and arching his back, appearing to writhe in pain".
His stomach was heaving and his fist was clenched in what "looked and sounded as though he was suffocating," the lawsuit argued.
McGuire's execution had been on the cards for decades since he raped and murdered Joy Stewart on February 11, 1989.
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