Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida News

Florida Set to Resume Executions: 1st White to be Executed for Killing a Black Man

TALLAHASSEE, FL - For the first time in state history, Florida is scheduled to execute a white man for killing a black person.

Mark James Asay's death warrant schedules his execution for six o-clock this evening. Asay was convicted by a jury for two racially-motivated and premeditated murders in Jacksonville in 1987. Barring a stay, it will be Florida's first execution since the U.S. Supreme Court halted the practice in the state more than 18 months ago.

Death penalty opponent Mark Elliott with Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty says the criminal justice system isn't fair.

"Ordering the execution of Mark Asay, who is a white person, that one of his victims was black doesn't change the history, doesn't change the reality of the death penalty and how it's applied, and who it's applied against," he explains.

Since Florida reinstated the death penalty in 1976, at least 20 black men charged with killing white victims have been executed, according to data from the Death Penalty Information Center.

Florida also plans to use for the first time a drug called Etomidate and potassium acetate in its execution cocktail. Elliott argues that life in prison is a better alternative to a death sentence, considering the state's track record. 

"We've had 27 people released off of Florida's death row due to wrongful convictions," he adds. "That's far more than any other state - so, we make more mistakes than any other state."

Asay would be the 24th person executed since Gov. Rick Scott has taken office, the most under any governor in Florida history.

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