For the first time in state history, Florida is expecting to execute a white man for killing a black person, according to The Associated Press. The execution is scheduled for today, August 24, 2017. Just this week I wrote about research that found one in six white men who kill black men evade prosecution.
Barring a stay, Mark Asay, 53, is scheduled to die by lethal injection after 6 p.m. Asay was convicted by a jury of two racially motivated, premeditated murders in Jacksonville in 1987.
The planned execution — Florida's first since the U.S. Supreme Court halted the practice in the state more than 18 months ago — is expected to be carried out using etomidate, an anesthetic that has been approved by the Florida Supreme Court. Two other drugs also will be used.
Asay, who is white, fatally shot Robert Lee Booker, 34, a black man, after making multiple racist comments, prosecutors said. Asay's second victim was Robert McDowell, 26, who was mixed race, white and Hispanic. Prosecutors say Asay had hired McDowell, who was dressed as a woman, for sex and shot him six times after discovering his gender.
While Asay would be the state's first white man to be executed in Florida for killing a black man, at least 20 black men have been executed for killing white victims since the state reinstated the death penalty in 1976, according to data from the Death Penalty Information Center. A total of 92 Florida inmates have been executed in that time period.
Opponents of capital punishment said much more needs to be done to make Florida's criminal justice system more equitable.
"This does nothing to change the 170-year-long history of Florida not executing whites for killing blacks," said Mark Elliott, executive director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
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