Romell Broom's execution had been rescheduled to March 2022

By Ashley Boucher
December 30, 2020 11:49 PM
Romell Broom
Romell Broom
| Credit: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

An Ohio inmate has died, likely from complications of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Romell Broom died at the Franklin Medical Center on Monday, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said Wednesday, NBC News reported.

"As of today, his death is considered a probable COVID-19 related death, pending his death certificate," department spokesperson Sara French told the outlet of the 64-year-old prisoner. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment Wednesday.

Broom was sentenced to death for the 1984 murder and rape of a 14-year-old, but at his execution in 2009, his lethal injection failed and his execution was rescheduled for March 2022.

Adele Shank, one of Broom's attorneys, said that his legal team was "sorry that he is gone and sorry that he lived his last days on death row," according to a statement obtained by NBC News.

"Due to a painful and traumatic botched execution procedure, Broom survived that day only to live with the ever-increasing fear and distress that the same process would be used on him at his next execution date," Shank added.

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"Let his passing in this way, and not in the execution chamber, be the final word on whether a second attempt should ever have been considered," the statement said. Shank did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

One in five prisoners in the U.S. has been infected with COVID-19, according to the Marshall Project, which is a rate more than four times higher than the general population. Even as prisons break records for COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, experts say that the number of inmates infected is undercounted.

In Ohio, one in six prisoners have had COVID-19, according to the Marshall Project, and 124 prisoners in the state of Ohio have died from causes related to the contagious respiratory virus, according to NBC News.

There have been more than 19.7 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., with at least 342,202 deaths related to the virus, per data from the New York Times.

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