A twice-convicted murderer whose execution this past November was halted after executioners couldn’t find a usable vein to administer execution drugs has died Saturday of natural causes, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said.
Alva Campbell, 69, was sentenced to death for murdering 18-year-old Charles Dials during a carjacking after his 1997 escape from custody on armed robbery charges. He already spent 20 years in prison after being convicted in the 1972 slaying of a man at a bar in Cleveland
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 Dials and drove around with him for several hours before shooting him twice in the head.
Campbell was found unresponsive in his death row cell Saturday morning at a prison in Chillicothe and was pronounced dead shortly before 5:30 a.m. at a hospital, prison department spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said.
Campbell’s lawyer, David Stebbins, told The Associated Press that it was clear that his client was never going to last that long. He suffered from lung cancer, COPD, prostate cancer and other ailments and required oxygen treatments four times a day.
“It was only a matter of time before this caught up with him,” Stebbins said. “In some ways, it was a relief.”
Campbell’s ex-wife, Sharol Kelly said it was “probably better” that he died of natural causes and avoided a replay of what happened last November.
Ron O’Brien, the Franklin County prosecutor, suggested it was a shame that the state never got the chance to put Campbell to death.
“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,” O’Brien said in a statement on Twitter.
Upon hearing of Campbell's death Saturday, O'Brien said, "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." pic.twitter.com/ATOT13bFkB
— Ron O'Brien (@prosronob) March 3, 2018
An autopsy will be performed on Monday.