A white supremacist who murdered two people in a 1987 shooting in Jacksonville, Fl., is set Thursday to become the first inmate executed in Florida in 19 months, reigniting fierce debate over the death penalty and raising questions about drugs purchased by the state for lethal injections, The Guardian reports.
The controversial three-drug cocktail that will end the life of 53-year-old Mark James Asay at the Florida state prison in Raiford shortly after 6 p.m. is experimental, the ingredients never having been tested together in the U.S.
While death penalty opponents lament the resumption of executions in the state with the nation’s second-highest number of condemned inmates in the country, some medical experts are warning that the convicted double murderer, who bears swastika tattoos from a dalliance with the Aryan Brotherhood in his youth, could die in agony due to the unknown effects of the chemicals.
“There has been no medical testing of any kind into the effects of this kind of dose on the human body and this dosage could result in a host of adverse effects,” Prof. Robert Sneyd, dean of the Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, wrote in a declaration presented to the Florida Supreme Court by Asay’s attorney about the anaesthetic etomidate, the first of the drugs that will be injected under the state’s new execution protocol adopted in January.
The pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, the original manufacturer of etomidate, also expressed its disgust that a drug it pioneered half a century ago to “save and enhance lives” was being used for capital punishment.