Attorneys for a serial murderer dubbed “the ice pick killer” have asked that the US state of Texas execute him by firing squad or gas, instead of the lethal injection scheduled Wednesday.
Danny Bible’s lawyers claim Parkinson’s disease and other ailments have left his veins too unreliable for the intravenous injection. As a result, they argue his execution Wednesday evening could end up being too painful.
The lawyers for the 67-year-old, who uses a wheelchair, have petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene and stop the execution. They suggest the state could kill him by firing squad or gas instead.
Bible has confessed to molesting several children, raping multiple women and murdering four people. He was sentenced to death in 2003 for the killing of 20-year-old Inez Deaton in 1979. Her body was found near a Houston bayou, stabbed multiple times with an ice pick.
Texas law only allows for lethal injection executions. If Bible’s appeal for death by other means were to be granted, it would delay his execution for at least a year, until the state’s legislature could consider other methods.
The Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday denied Bible’s request, saying he failed to prove lethal injection would cause him to suffer.
“The Supreme Court has stated that to prevail on a claim such as Bible’s, ‘there must be a substantial risk of serious harm, an objectively intolerable risk of harm,’” the appeals court said in its opinion.
“Bible’s contentions that he will experience some pain and discomfort when the state’s team inserts the IVs into his veins are insufficient to meet this high standard.”
Texas state lawyers had argued that medical personnel had recently been able to draw blood from Bible, suggesting he had sufficient access to his veins.
Ohio and Alabama recently canceled executions after failing to find useable veins on inmates’ bodies.
Alabama prisoner Doyle Lee Hamm reached a settlement with the Southern state in March that spared him the death penalty, a month after prison personnel spent more than two hours searching for useable veins during a botched execution.
“There were multiple puncture wounds on the ankles, calf, and right groin area, around a dozen,” Hamm’s attorney Bernard Harcourt said at the time in a blog posting.
A November execution in Ohio was also called off after about 20 minutes. Prison personnel could not find a useable vein on the body of 69-year-old convicted murderer Alva Campbell.