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Florida Set To Execute An Inmate For The First Time In 18 Months

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Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter

Florida is set to move forward with the execution of double-murderer Mark Asay Thursday evening after the Supreme Court rejected his petition for relief.

Asay, a white supremacist with swastika and white power tattoos, was convicted in 1988 for the racially-charged murders of African-American Robert Lee Booker and white hispanic Robert McDowell. The case will reportedly be the first time in Florida history that white man is executed for killing a black man, according to The Washington Post.

The Florida Supreme Court denied Asay’s appeal in 1991, but the court opinion incorrectly identified McDowell as black. The Supreme Court rectified this mistake in a decision earlier this summer. Johnson & Johnson (J&J), the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, came out against his execution Tuesday, as Florida is planning to use a drug developed by the company in the execution.

Florida plans to administer the drug etomidate as an anesthetic in the first part of Asay’s execution. J&J first developed etomidate in the 1960s, and while the company has since divested its ownership of the product, it still issued a statement objecting to etomidate being used to execute inmates.

“We do not support the use of our medicines for indications that have not been approved by regulatory authorities,” a J&J spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We do not condone the use of our medicines in lethal injections for capital punishment.”

Florida is only resorting to etomidate because the state ran out of the more traditional sedative midazolam. Florida plans to move forward with the execution, despite J&J’s protests.

“The Florida Department of Corrections follows the law and carries out the sentence of the court, as laid out in Florida Statute,” the corrections department said in a statement. “This is the department’s most solemn duty, and the foremost objective with the lethal injection procedure is a humane and dignified process.”

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