Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Child killer Mark Schwab executed at Florida State Prison

STARKE, FL -- Mark Dean Schwab was executed Tuesday night at Florida State Prison for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Junny Rios-Martinez.

His sentence was carried out by way of lethal injection. He was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m.

Schwab's execution came on the 16th anniversary of the date when he was sentenced to die for the kidnapping, rape and murder of Junny in Cocoa.

Peter Cannon, one of Schwab's attorneys, filed an appeal Monday evening with the U.S. Supreme Court. But, that appeal was denied.

The high court gave Schwab a stay in November as it considered the constitutionality of Kentucky's lethal injection procedure. When it ruled Kentucky's protocol was acceptable, it opened the door for Florida and other states with similar laws to resume executions.

The lengthy Supreme Court appeal says as a result of the Kentucky decisions, "there remains much confusion as to the proper standard for analyzing the method of execution cases."

Schwab was the 10th person executed in the United States since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Kentucky case and the 21st inmate to die by lethal injection since Florida changed its method of execution in 2000. He was the 65th inmate to be executed since Florida resumed capital punishment in 1979.

Schwab's execution was the first in Florida since December 2006 when the execution of convicted killer Angel Diaz led to a state-imposed moratorium and investigation into his prolonged death.

A medical examiner said the executioner pushed the needles through Diaz's veins and into his muscles, causing him extreme pain. It took 34 minutes for him to die, about twice as long as normal.

Despite several revisions to Florida's execution protocol, Schwab's attorneys claimed Florida's procedure fell short of the U.S. Supreme Court standards. They claimed several mock training executions conducted by Florida prison officials showed a 30 percent failure rate.

After being turned down by courts in Titusville and Tallahassee last week, Schwab's attorneys sought permission from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta for permission to file another round of federal appeals, but that was also turned down.

Schwab raped and killed Junny in April 1991, about a month after he was released early from a prison sentence he got for raping a 13-year-old boy, who was from Cocoa, a small town on the Atlantic coast of Florida.

Schwab got close to the boy and his family by posing as a reporter who promised to help the boy with his dream of becoming a professional surfer. On the day of the rape and murder, Schwab called the boy's school posing as his father, then picked him up there.

The case prompted Florida's Junny Rios-Martinez Act of 1992, which prohibits sex offenders from early release from prison or getting credit for good behavior.

Schwab's execution took place at the state's death chamber in Starke, about 40 miles southwest of Jacksonville.

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