Ruling clears way for Florida executions

05/19/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Charlie Crist says he'd like death row inmate Mark Dean Schwab to be executed by July.

Crist made his comments after the U.S. Supreme Court today lifted a stay that blocked Schwab’s execution last November. Schwab faces the death penalty for the 1991 torture, rape and murder of 11-year-old Junny Rios-Martinez.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum asked the U.S. Supreme Court last month to lift the stay after justices ruled in a Kentucky case that upheld the constitutionality of lethal injection.

Last year was the first since 1982 in which there was not an execution in Florida. Former Gov. Jeb Bush placed a moratorium on executions as Crist was getting ready to take office. Bush called for a study of lethal injection after it took twice as long as usual - 34 minutes - for convicted killer Angel Diaz to die in December 2006. An investigation found the needles had been pushed through Diaz's veins into his flesh, reducing the lethal drugs' effectiveness.

Crist has said in the past that it’s a matter of justice that the family of Junny Rios-Martinez gets to see his killer executed by the state.
Many others agree with him.

But anti-death penalty advocates like Mark Elliot say its unfair that those family members have been told for 17 years now that the only way justice can be achieved is by having the state kill Junny’s killer.

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