Ohio inmate whose execution was called off dies of natural causes

An Ohio death row inmate died Saturday of natural causes after his November execution -- where he requested a special pillow to help him sit up -- was halted when a usable vein could not be found to inject the lethal drugs, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said.

Alva Campbell, 69, was found unresponsive in his cell at a prison in Chillicothe, prison department spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said. Campbell was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead just before 5:30 a.m.

"Due to 20 years of frivolous post-conviction litigation, he successfully ran the clock out on justice due to the state and the victim's family,” Franklin County prosecutor Ron O'Brien tweeted about Campbell’s death.

O’Brien previously called Campbell the “poster child for the death penalty.”

The twice-convicted murderer cheated death in November when he was placed on an execution gurney, but walked away 20 minutes later after authorities failed to insert an IV with the lethal drugs into him, Dayton Daily News reported. Campbell suffered “from a lot of pretty serious diseases for a long time,” Campbell’s attorney, David Stebbins, told The Associated Press.

Due to his breathing problems, Campbell requested a special pillow to help him sit up on the gurney in the death chamber.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich set Campbell’s new execution date for June 5, 2019, before the inmate died.


FILE – This undated file photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows death row inmate Alva Campbell, convicted of fatally shooting Charles Dials, during a carjacking in 1997. Officials say Campbell, a twice convicted Ohio murderer whose execution was halted in November 2017 when a vein couldn’t be found to administer execution drugs has died of natural causes.
A spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says  Campbell was found unresponsive Saturday, March 3, 2018 in his cell at a prison in Chillicothe and was pronounced dead at a hospital just before 5:30 a.m. (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction via AP, File)

The execution of Alva Campbell was called off after unsuccessful attempts to insert an IV. (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction via AP)

Campbell was sentenced to death in 1998 for shooting and killing Charles Dials. Campbell was in a wheelchair in 1997 when he overpowered a sheriff's deputy on the way to a Franklin County court hearing on armed robbery charges. He took the deputy's gun, carjacked 18-year-old Dials and drove around with him for several hours before shooting him twice in the head.

Campbell also spent 20 years in prison after being convicted in the 1972 slaying of a man at a bar in Cleveland.

Campbell and another death row inmate recently filed a challenge, arguing that Ohio’s execution protocol — the three-drug combination injection — placed inmates at risk for pain and suffering. However, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Campbell’s challenge last month.

Stebbins said it was “only a matter of time” that Campbell’s slew of health problems “caught up with him.”

"In some ways, it was a relief,” he added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam