Execution causes stir
Published 5:21 pm Thursday, December 14, 2006
Death penalty opponents criticized the execution of a convicted murderer who took more than half an hour to die and needed a rare second dose of lethal chemicals.
Angel Nieves Diaz, 55, convicted of murdering a Miami topless bar manager 27 years ago, appeared to grimace before dying 34 minutes after receiving a double lethal chemical dose Wednesday.
Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said she doesn’t believe Diaz felt any pain. She said Diaz started snoring and became unconscious after the first three drugs were administered and never regained consciousness.
Plessinger said Diaz had liver disease, which required the second dose of lethal chemicals. But Diaz’s cousin Maria Otero said the family had no knowledge that he suffered from liver disease and said the execution was political.
“Who came down to Earth and gave you the right to kill somebody?” Otero said, referring to Gov. Jeb Bush. “Why a stupid second dose?”
Bush said in a statement that the Department of Corrections followed all protocols: “A preexisting medical condition of the inmate was the reason tonight’s procedure took longer than recent procedures carried out this year,” the statement said.
Diaz was pronounced dead at 6:36 p.m., despite his protests of innocence and requests for clemency made by the governor of his native Puerto Rico.
A spokesman for Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, called Diaz’s death a botched execution.
“They had to execute him twice,” Mark Elliot said. “If Floridians could witness the pain and the agony of the executed man’s family, they would end the death penalty.”
In most Florida executions, the prisoner loses consciousness almost immediately and stops moving within three-to-five minutes.