Florida executes convicted killer using new drug

STARKE, Fla. (AP) – The Latest on Execution-Florida (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

Florida has put a man to death with an anesthetic never used before in a U.S. lethal injection, carrying out its first execution in more than 18 months on an inmate convicted of two racially motivated murders.

Authorities say 53-year-old Mark Asay, the first white man executed in Florida for killing a black man, was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m. Thursday at the state prison in Starke. His death followed a three-drug injection that began with the anesthetic, etomidate.

Though approved by the Florida Supreme Court, etomidate has been criticized by some as being unproven in an execution. Etomidate replaced midazolam, which became harder to acquire after many drug companies began refusing to provide it for executions.

Prosecutors say Asay made racist comments in the 1987 fatal shooting of a 34-year-old black man, Robert Lee Booker. Asay also was convicted of the 1987 murder of 26-year-old Robert McDowell, who was mixed race, white and Hispanic.

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4:05 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to block the execution of a Florida man scheduled Thursday evening.

The high court’s decision came without comment in the case of 53-year-old Mark Asay, who was convicted of two racially motivated murders in Jacksonville in 1987. Asay would be the first white man to be executed in Florida for killing a black man.

The execution by lethal injection is set for 6 p.m. It will be Florida’s first since the U.S. Supreme Court halted the practice in the state 18 months ago.

The execution also will be the first in the U.S. using the drug etomidate, which Asay’s lawyers unsuccessfully challenged. Two other drugs also will be used.

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