Twenty-five years ago, Romell Broom, a pedophile who had previously served time for the savage rape of a 12-year-old girl, abducted 14-year-old Tyra Middleton on the street at knifepoint, brutally raped her, and then stabbed her to death. Her body was found in a nearby abandoned parking lot.
At his trial, Broom received the death penalty, and has spent the time since doggedly fighting to have his death sentence overturned. His defense team has recently begun to employ a “blame-the-victim” strategy, portraying the young girl as having had a “sexually active lifestyle.”
The appallingly insensitive tactics employed by Broom’s defense team in portraying the young victim of his crime as somehow deserving of being brutally raped and stabbed to death led Tyra’s exasperated mother to exclaim:
If you had a daughter, would you want me to belittle her as you have my daughter? I know you are an attorney and you have a job to do, but I do not appreciate it.
Broom was scheduled to die in October 2007. At that time, he received a stay of execution by joining another inmate’s challenge of the constitutionality of Ohio’s legal injection method. As that stay was subsequently dismissed, his new execution date was scheduled last month on September 15.
In Ohio, four executions have now been postponed as the state revises its lethal injection procedures. The review began after a failed execution on September 15, when the state attempted to kill Romell Broom. Broom’s execution was put off after technicians spent over two hours trying to maintain an intravenous connection in order to inject him with lethal drugs.
The state, as Goodman put it, failed in its attempt to “kill” Romell Broom, and so, once again, at the 11th hour, Broom had escaped punishment for his crime.
Not only that, Broom’s attorneys have now asked Ohio’s supreme court to cancel the execution altogether, arguing that:
It was obviously a flawed process. He survived this execution attempt, and they really can’t do it again. It was cruel and unusual punishment. Romell Broom is still recovering from Tuesday’s prolonged execution attempt and is physically and emotionally traumatized.
Bessye Middleton, Tyra’s mother, who has waited 25 years to see her daughter get justice, urged the state of Ohio to “get on with it.”
It’s time for him to go. That’s all I got to say. He’s got to go.
For the Middleton Family, the wheels of justice, as they say, are moving exceedingly slow.