By Chris Kenning
(Reuters) - A 69-year-old Ohio death row inmate who faked paralysis to escape from custody and commit murder is due to be put to death on Wednesday despite his argument that he is too sick.
Alva Campbell Jr., who suffers from cancer, lung disease, asthma and heart problems and uses a walker and a colostomy bag, will be given a wedge-shaped pillow to alleviate his breathing difficulties on the gurney as the lethal injection is administered, his attorney David Stebbins said.
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The execution is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. EST at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio.
"Mr. Campbell's medical condition and history are being assessed and considered in order to identify any necessary accommodations or contingencies for his execution," JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for Ohio's Department of Rehabilitation & Correction, said in an email.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected without comment Campbell's appeal to stop the execution in which he says he is too ill. Stebbins said Campbell's medical conditions could make it hard to find suitable veins to deliver the lethal injection.
Campbell, who has said he was beaten and abused as a child, recently lost a bid to be executed by a firing squad, and Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich rejected clemency.
Campbell served 20 years of a life sentence for killing a man in Cleveland before being released by a parole board in 1992. Five years after his release, he was arrested and jailed for robbery in Columbus, Ohio, and was awaiting a court date when he faked paralysis, according to court documents.
As a deputy was transporting Campbell in a wheelchair to the courthouse, he suddenly beat the deputy, stole her pistol and fled, according to court records. He then carjacked and fatally shot 18-year-old Charles Dials. Campbell was convicted in 1997 on robbery and murder charges.
Campbell is the latest death row inmate to challenge Ohio's lethal injection methods. In September, Ohio put to death a double murderer, Gary Otte, in its second execution after a three-year hiatus because of legal challenges and difficulties obtaining lethal injection drugs.
Otte was put to death after he lost an appeal challenging the use of midazolam as a sedative in that protocol. Several U.S. states, including Oklahoma and Arizona, have used midazolam in executions in which witnesses said inmates appeared to twist in pain.
Twenty-four more inmates after Campbell are slated for execution in Ohio through 2022.
(Reporting by Chris Kenning in Chicago; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)