The 25th Execution of 2015
Thirty years after he stabbed and killed his five-year-old daughter, his ex-wife and her mother and sister in Florida, Jerry Correll himself was dead as the result of lethal injection, reported the Tampa Bay Times.
The October 29, 2015 execution occurred after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected without comment Correll's request for a stay at 6:40 p.m., 40 minutes after the execution was scheduled.
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. At issue: In Florida, it takes only a majority of the jury - not a unanimous one as in most states - to recommend a death penalty. Even then, the judge has a final say.
Breyer also said keeping a prisoner on death row for 30 years constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
Correll is the first person to be executed since January in the small, white death chamber. His death was put off in February by the Florida Supreme Court while federal justices considered a case that could rule the state's lethal injections unconstitutional.
That case surrounded midazolam, a highly controversial drug used in lethal injections in just a few states, including Florida. Its purpose is to sedate the inmate, although in some cases it has not worked properly, causing major complications in an otherwise straightforward process.
On Thursday, nothing appeared to go awry.
Correll's execution is also the 22nd to take place in the death chamber at Florida State Prison since Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011, more than any other governor since the death penalty was reinstated in Florida in 1976. Jeb Bush ordered 21 in his eight years in office and Charlie Crist ordered just five.
"It's his solemn duty to uphold the law and his foremost concern is always for the victims and their families," said Jackie Schutz, Scott's spokeswoman.
Family members of the victims — Susan Correll, Marybeth Jones, Mary Lou Hines and Tuesday Correll — were present, as were Correll's lawyers and a member of clergy.
"The consequences of (Correll's) actions should be no less than death itself," the family of the victims said in a written statement after the execution. "It has taken a long time for his punishment to be fulfilled, but we have chosen to use that time to heal and move forward."
The family of death row inmates aren't allowed to witness executions. Correll spoke with his daughter on the phone Thursday morning, however, and she and other family members visited him last week, Department of Corrections spokesman McKinley Lewis said.
On Thursday, Correll had a two-hour meeting with Deacon Jason Roy, a Catholic chaplain who serves death row inmates. Around 10 a.m., he ate his last meal: a cheeseburger, french fries and a Coke.
"His general demeanor has been calm and in good spirits today," Lewis said.
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