Florida executes man convicted of fatally stabbing ex-wife, daughter

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Florida executes Jerry Correll over four murders in 1985.

STARKE, Fla. (AP) — The latest on Florida’s execution of Jerry Correll, a man convicted of fatally stabbing his ex-wife, young daughter and two in-laws (all times local): Family members of the victims of a man executed in Florida have released a statement saying they “are at peace in knowing justice has finally been served.” The statement added that “We say this without vengeance in our hearts but with the belief that there should be proper consequences for the actions of each and every individual.” The 59-year-old Correll was found guilty and sentenced to death in 1986 for killing his former wife Susan Correll, their 5-year-old daughter, Tuesday; Susan Correll’s mother, Mary Lou Hines; and Susan Correll’s sister, Marybeth Jones. About two dozen witnesses watched as the 59-year-old Orlando man lay on a gurney covered with a white sheet from the neck down, his hands covered in bandages, his wrists strapped down and IVs in his arms. Correll became the 22nd inmate to be executed under Governor Rick Scott — the most executions under a single governor since the death penalty was reinstated in Florida in 1979.

Correll had been scheduled for execution in February 2014 but it was put on hold as his attorneys in Florida, and attorneys at the US supreme court in a separate case out of Oklahoma, argued over whether a sedative used in the execution protocol was effective in knocking inmates out. Four minutes after the process began, the execution-team leader went over and shook Correll to make sure he was unconscious and that the sedative had worked, a Florida Department of Corrections spokesman said. “Jerry Correll chose to take the lives of four beautiful, innocent people on June 30, 1985,” the statement said. “People who are still loved and missed by their family and friends 30 years later.

Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor dissented, saying Correll’s execution should be delayed while the court decides whether Florida’s capital punishment system is constitutional. In a 5-4 ruling in June in a challenge brought by three Oklahoma death row inmates, the high court cleared the drug for use, finding midazolam did not violate the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. A group of Oklahoma death-row inmates said the drug was ineffective in adequately making inmates unconscious, pointing to botched executions in which inmates showed signs they were suffering pain by gasping and clenching their fists. Correll’s attorneys subsequently argued in state court that the drug would have a uniquely cruel impact on him because his history of brain damage and drug use.

Correll showed up at the scene with cuts to his hand and acted “inappropriately” for a man who just found out his daughter and ex-wife were killed, Orange County deputy sheriffs said at the time. A jury of 10 women and two men, selected in Sarasota because of the publicity locally, convicted Correll of four counts of first-degree murder after a weeklong trial. James Stroker said during sentencing Correll that Tuesday’s death was “especially heinous, atrocious and cruel.” A doctor at the trial said she lived for about five minutes before losing consciousness. “It is difficult to imagine the degree of emotional anguish suffered by that dying child,” Stroker wrote. “She had apparently witnessed the brutal murder of her mother and experienced the horror of her own father repeatedly driving a sharp knife in her chest.”

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