Speed Reads

death penalty

Florida inmate executed with experimental injection

A Florida inmate was put to death Thursday evening by lethal injection, with officials using a sedative that had never before been used in an execution in the United States.

Mark Asay, 53, was executed at 6:22 p.m., Florida corrections officials said. He was convicted in 1988 of murdering two men in Jacksonville in 1987; because he called one of the victims, a black man, a racial slur before shooting him, it was considered a racially motivated crime, WJAX reports.

Three drugs were used for the lethal injection, including the sedative etomidate. Asay's attorneys argued to the Florida Supreme Court earlier this month that the drug, never before used in a U.S. execution, would cause pain, but the court rejected this, saying they could not prove this. Etomidate was used in place of midazolam, which has been difficult for states to acquire because drug manufacturers do not want it used in executions. This was also the first time in 18 months that Florida carried out an execution; in 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the state had to temporarily stop putting inmates to death, as the sentencing process was unconstitutional. Florida has since passed a law that requires a jury to unanimously recommend the death penalty.