Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Supreme Court won't halt Florida execution

Published:Friday | August 25, 2017 | 12:10 AM

STARKE, Florida (AP):

The United States Supreme Court yesterday refused to block the state's first execution in 18 months, one that also will mark the first use of the drug etomidate in a US lethal injection.

The court denied without comment the final appeal of Mark Asay, who is set to die after 6 p.m. Asay, 53, was convicted by a jury of two 1987 Jacksonville murders that prosecutors said were racially motivated.

The planned execution - Florida's first since the US Supreme Court halted the practice in the state after finding its method for sentencing people to death to be unconstitutional - is expected to be carried out using etomidate, an anaesthetic that has been approved by the Florida Supreme Court. Two other drugs also are to be used.

Asay, who is white, fatally shot Robert Lee Booker, 34, a black man, after making multiple racist comments, prosecutors said. Asay's second victim, Robert McDowell, 26, was mixed race - white and Hispanic. Prosecutors say Asay had hired McDowell, who was dressed as a woman, for sex and shot him six times after discovering his gender.

Asay would be the first white man to be executed in Florida for killing a black man. At least 20 black men have been executed for killing white victims since the state reinstated the death penalty in 1976, according to data from the Death Penalty Information Center. A total of 92 Florida inmates have been executed in that period.