After spending nearly three decades on Florida’s death row, murderer Mark James Asay was executed Thursday evening, the state’s first inmate to be put to death in more than 19 months and the first execution under a lethal-injection procedure never used before in any state, reports the News Service of Florida. The execution was the first since a January 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision that effectively put the state’s death penalty in limbo. He was the first white man executed for killing a black victim in Florida. The lack of complications with the untested lethal-injection procedure execution may have eased concerns about Florida’s new three-drug protocol.
“The execution took place without incident,” said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Michelle Glady. “Our objective with this is a humane and dignified process, which was done this evening.” Asay was convicted in 1988 in the shooting deaths of Robert Booker, who was black, and Robert McDowell. Asay allegedly shot Booker after calling him a racial epithet. He then killed McDowell, who was dressed as a woman, after agreeing to pay him for oral sex. Asay — who had white supremacist and swastika tattoos — later told a friend that McDowell had previously cheated him out of money in a drug deal. While prosecutors portrayed Asay as a white supremacist, the killer denied that he was a racist in a TV interview a few days before his execution.