Thursday, November 8, 2007

Florida justices deny stay for killer Schwab

Schwab set to die Nov. 15


Whether Mark Dean Schwab lives past next Thursday is now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Florida Supreme Court Wednesday voted 5-2 to deny Schwab's request for a stay of execution, a week after it denied his appeals for a new trial.

"Schwab should seek a stay from the United States Supreme Court and it should be that Court's decision to determine whether . . . it intends a de facto moratorium on the death penalty and whether the issues it is presently reviewing regarding lethal injection justify a stay of Schwab's execution," Justice Barbara Pariente wrote for the majority.

Schwab, 38, has been on death row for 15 years for kidnapping, raping, torturing and murdering 11-year-old Junny Rios-Martinez of Cocoa in April 1991.

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued three stays of execution in recent weeks as it considers a Kentucky case challenging lethal injection protocols.

Justice Harry Lee Anstead, who was joined in dissent by Justice Peggy Quince, said it is wrong for the Florida court to deny the stay while the U.S. Supreme Court considers a case that could have a bearing on the decision.

Assistant State Attorney Wayne Holmes said Wednesday's ruling was the correct decision.

"They are putting a stay in the hands responsible for making a decision in this case," he said. "It also gives the defense a chance to get it to the U.S. Supreme Court in time."

Schwab is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Nov. 15 at Florida State Prison in Raiford.

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