By Chris Perez, New York Post
He received a three-drug cocktail, which began with the anesthetic, etomidate.
(Florida executed a man on Thursday with a drug never used before in a US lethal injection. Mark Asay is the first white man executed in Florida for killing a black man. He received a three-drug injection, starting with the anesthetic, etomidate. (Aug. 25) Courtesy of The Associated Press and YouTube)
While the sedative has been approved by the Florida Supreme Court, many have criticized it — saying it’s unproven in an execution.
Etomidate, also known by the brand name “Amidate,” ultimately replaced midazolam, which has became harder to get over the years due to push back from manufacturers.
One drug company, West-Ward Pharmaceuticals, filed a brief earlier this year in support of eight death row inmates in Arkansas — saying they typically try to avoid letting prisons use their midazolam in executions.
Asay, who was found guilty for the racially motivated murders of two men in Jacksonville, has been waiting on death row since his conviction in 1988.
Prosecutors say he killed 34-year-old Robert Lee Booker, a black man, and 26-year-old Robert McDowell, who was of white and Hispanic descent.
(Learn More, and hear from Mark Asay. Courtesy of WJXT, Francesca Amiker and YouTube)
He reportedly called Booker a racial slur before fatally shooting him — and took McDowell’s life after agreeing to pay him for oral sex.
According to WJAX, he later told a friend that McDowell — who was dressed as a woman at the time of his death — had cheated him out of money during a drug deal.
Asay is the very first white man to be executed in Florida for the murder of a black man, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
In comparison, there have been at least 20 black inmates who have been put to death for killing white victims since 1976.
Asay’s execution also marks the first time since early 2016 that Florida has taken the life of an inmate after the method of lethal injection was deemed unconstitutional.
A US Supreme Court ruling, saying the state’s sentencing process was unconstitutional, had temporarily halted the practice. The high court was said to have rejected Asay’s final appeal for a stay of execution on Thursday without comment.
When asked whether he wanted to make one last statement, Asay flatly replied: “No sir, I do not. Thank you.” The execution began, soon-after.
About a minute into the lethal injection process began, Asay’s feet appeared to jerk slightly — while his mouth opened wide. He was pronounced dead less than three minutes later.
While etomidate has never been used in a lethal injection procedure in the US before, law-enforcement officials in Springfield, Ill., have administered the drug to a defendant as a sedative — in the attempt “to remove plastic baggies containing crack cocaine from a defendant’s mouth,” WJAX reports.
Officials plan to use it permanently as part of Florida’s new execution mixture.
The anesthetic is followed by an injection of rocuronium bromide, a paralytic, and then potassium acetate, which shuts down the heart.
In addition to etomidate, Asay’s death also marks the first time that the Sunshine State has used potassium acetate, as well.
The drug had only been used in Oklahoma — by mistake — during an execution in 2015.
With Post wires