Man executed for rape and murder of girl, 10

Published May 30, 2013

STARKE — A convicted child molester condemned for the 1990 rape and murder of a 10-year-old Apopka girl was executed Wednesday at the Florida State Prison.

Elmer Carroll, 56, was pronounced dead at 6:12 p.m. Wednesday after receiving an injection at the prison in Starke, Gov. Rick Scott's office said.

Carroll was sentenced to die for first-degree murder and sexual battery in the rape and strangling death of Christine McGowan. The girl lived with her family next door to a halfway house for homeless men where Carroll was staying in Apopka.

Five of Christine's family members were among those witnessing the execution. Two of them hugged before walking out, but they did not address the media.

When prison officials asked whether he wished to make a final statement, Carroll said, "No sir." A few minutes after the injection procedure began at 6:01 p.m., witnesses could see Carroll's chest rising and falling, and at one point he puffed his cheeks out. He was pronounced dead after a prison physician checked him with a stethoscope.

During Carroll's two decades on death row, his lawyers argued that he was too mentally ill to stand trial or be subjected to the death penalty. The U.S. Supreme Court denied that petition.

On Wednesday morning, Carroll ate a last meal of eggs with bacon and biscuits.

Carroll had two visitors Wednesday morning — a mitigation specialist and a Catholic priest. No family members visited.