Robert Lavern Henry is set to be executed this week in Florida for killing two women in 1989 by beating them with a hammer and setting them on fire in a fabric store, reports the Orlando Sentinel. He would be the 16th prisoner executed under Gov. Rick Scott’s watch, more than any other modern Florida governor in a single term. At a time when other states are curtailing or outlawing executions, Florida is bucking the trend.
A swelling number of death sentences handed down in the 1990s are reaching the ends of their appeals. Florida also is experiencing a rare window of relatively few legal challenges, botched executions or political infighting over the issue. “It seems like the push now in Florida is to move forward … and that is different than what we see in the rest of the country,” said Richard Dieter, Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment. Florida has been more likely to hand out death sentences and is the only state that doesn’t require unanimous jury recommendations for the death penalty. Florida’s 15 death sentences and California’s 24 accounted for nearly half of the death sentences imposed nationwide in 2013.