Florida carries out first execution by injection
STARKE, Fla. (AP) – A man who killed an off-duty sheriff’s deputy in a drugstore holdup was put to death Wednesday in Florida’s first execution by injection.
Last month, the state changed the law to give its 366 death row inmates a choice between lethal injection and the electric chair, Florida’s sole method of execution for the past 76 years.
The Legislature acted out of fear that after two fiery executions and one bloody one over the past few years in Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court would ban the electric chair as cruel and unusual punishment.
After the law was changed, however, the high court decided not to hear a challenge to Florida’s electric chair.
The inmate put to death on Wednesday, Terry Melvin Sims, 58, said he was not guilty of the murder and recited a prayer in Hebrew. ”Peace, hope and love to all,” he added before his microphone was turned off.
Sims was convicted of shooting 55-year-old George Pfeil during a robbery in 1977.
On Thursday, Anthony Bryan, 40, was scheduled to die by injection in Florida for the 1983 slaying of a man kidnapped from Pascagoula, Miss.
Thirty-four other states execute inmates by injection.