Alabama inmate who survived execution bid buried with family

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama inmate who survived an execution attempt and died years later of natural causes was laid to rest in a grave dug by family and friends, his lawyer said.

Doyle Lee Hamm, who was convicted of capital murder in the slaying of a motel clerk in 1987, was buried Friday afternoon beside his parents, siblings and other relatives at a cemetery in the northwestern Alabama town of Cherokee, said attorney Bernard Harcourt, who represented Hamm for years.

“It was a simple country service with about 35 persons in attendance, including family and friends – his brother, nephews and nieces, grandniece, and many friends and men from the Kairos ministry,” said a statement by Harcourt.

Hamm, who was 64, died last Sunday. Diagnosed in 2014 with B-cell lymphoma, Hamm argued before his scheduled execution in February 2018 that the blood cancer had progressed while the state argued that he was in remission.

Alabama prison officials tried to execute Hamm by lethal injection but had to stop because medical workers couldn’t find a suitable vein to connect the intravenous line used to send lethal chemicals into his body. Hamm and the state reached an agreement the following month that prevented further execution attempts, but he remained on death row at Holman Prison because of his capital conviction.

“Nature finally afforded Doyle the kind of benevolence that he never received from the state, nor our society, at any time in his life. May he now rest in peace,” said Harcourt.

Hamm was convicted in the slaying of Patrick Cunningham, who was shot in the head while working an overnight desk shift at a motel in Cullman. Police said $410 was taken during the holdup.

Hamm gave police a confession and he was convicted after two accomplices testified against him in exchange for being allowed to plead guilty to lesser offenses, court documents showed.