Florida on Thursday put a man to death with an anesthetic never used before in a US lethal injection, carrying out its first execution in more than 18 months on an inmate convicted of two racially motivated murders. Authorities said 53-year-old Mark Asay—the first white man executed in Florida for the killing of a black man—was pronounced dead at 6:22pm Thursday at the state prison in Starke. Asay received a three-drug injection that began with the anesthetic etomidate. Though approved by the Florida Supreme Court, etomidate has been criticized by some as being unproven in an execution. Etomidate replaced midazolam, which many drug companies have started refusing to provide for executions.
Prosecutors say Asay made racist comments in the 1987 fatal shooting of a 34-year-old black man, Robert Lee Booker, the AP reports. Asay also was convicted of the 1987 murder of 26-year-old Robert McDowell, who was white and Hispanic. Asay had hired McDowell, who was dressed as a woman, as a prostitute, and killed him after learning his true gender, prosecutors said. Asay was asked whether he wanted to make a final statement. "No sir, I do not. Thank you," he replied. A spokeswoman for the corrections department said there was no complication in the execution procedure and that Asay did not speak during it. (Read more execution stories.)