Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Florida executes mass murderer

The 23rd Execution of 2013

John Errol Ferguson was executed on August 5, 2013 for murdering eight people in Miami-Dade County in the late 1970s, according to The Associated Press. The execution came less than two hours after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a final request for a stay.

Ferguson made a brief statement before 25 witnesses, including family members of the victims. "I just want everyone to know that I am the prince of God and will rise again," he said calmly.

About three minutes into the procedure, he moved his head, strained his neck, moved his feet, put his head back down and closed his eyes. The entire execution took 16 minutes.

Ferguson and two others were convicted of killing six people in 1977 during a robbery at a Carol City house used by marijuana dealers. Ferguson dressed as a utility worker to gain access and let his accomplices inside. Most of the victims were friends who happened to drop by the house while Ferguson and the other men were there. The victims were blindfolded and bound, and the encounter turned violent after a mask fell off one of Ferguson's gang members and his face was spotted by a victim.

The decision was made to kill all eight people in the house. Two survived. At the time, it was the worst mass slaying ever in Miami-Dade County.

Ferguson also was convicted of the 1978 murder of a 17-year-old couple, Brian Glenfeldt and Belinda Worley, from Hialeah. They were shot as Ferguson, dressed as a police officer, tried to rob them while they were parked at a lovers' lane. Worley was raped.

The randomness of the crime and the age of the victims stunned many in Miami. Ferguson confessed to killing "the two kids" after he was arrested in April 1978 for the earlier killings, court records show.

The attorneys appealed his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying that Ferguson was too mentally ill to be put to death and lacked "rational understanding" that he will be executed and that killing him would be "cruel and unusual punishment," violating the Eighth Amendment.

Ferguson chose to eat the same food other prisoners were being served as his final meal: A meat and vegetable patty, white bread, stewed tomatoes, potato salad, carrots and iced tea.

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