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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Supreme Court lifts stay of execution on Orlando killer



The execution of Jerry Correll appears ready to move forward as originally planned.

On Friday, the Florida Supreme Court lifted a stay of execution it issued in February, pending a death penalty case that was before the U.S. Supreme Court. The federal justices ruled this summer in Glossip v. Gross that the drug cocktail used in Florida and Oklahoma is constitutional. It is not "cruel and unusual punishment" banned under the 8th Amendment.

Now, Correll's execution can move forward once it is scheduled.

The execution will be the first in Florida since Jan. 15, when Johnny Kormondy — convicted of fatally shooting a Pensacola banker in 1993 and raping his wife — was put to death.

This has been an unusual respite in recent Florida history, as Gov. Rick Scott has ordered execution at a pace unmatched by any governor since the death penalty was re-instated in 1977.

Early this year, Scott signed a death warrant for Correll, an Orlando man convicted in the 1985 stabbing deaths of four people, including his ex-wife and their 5-year-old daughter. Correll was originally scheduled to be executed at the state death chamber outside Starke, Fla., on Feb. 26.

At that point, the constitutionality of one of the drugs in Florida's lethal injection -- midazolam -- was in limbo.

"Without a stay of execution in this case, Florida risks the unconstitutional execution of Correll, for which there is no remedy," Chief Justice Jorge Labarga wrote in a February order postponing the execution. "In contrast, a stay pending determination of the issue in the United States Supreme Court will not prejudice the State and, more importantly, will ensure that Florida does not risk an unconstitutional execution."

Since the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this summer, Correll again appealed his death sentence. The Florida Supreme Court disagreed.


[Last modified: Friday, October 2, 2015 12:55pm]


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