Monday, May 4, 2009

Attorney seeks stay of execution for Fla. inmate


TALLAHASSEE — An attorney for condemned killer John Richard Marek asked the Florida Supreme Court today to block his client’s scheduled execution next week.

The 47-year-old former Texas drifter was convicted nearly a quarter century ago in the June 16, 1983, kidnapping, rape and murder of Adella Marie Simmons.

She was one of two women returning home when their car broke down on the Florida Turnpike in Broward County. Marek and his accomplice, Raymond Wigley, stopped and persuaded Simmons to ride with them to a service station. They instead took her to a beach about 60 miles away where she was strangled with a bandanna after being sexually assaulted.

Defense attorney Martin McClain asked the justices to halt Marek’s scheduled May 13 execution by lethal injection, asserting that Wigley was the actual killer.

“All the evidence points to Mr. Wigley,” McClain said, adding later that Wigley “was the real actor, the real motivator.”

Wigley was killed in prison by another inmate.

Albeit an expedited case, McClain said he didn’t expect a decision from the court Monday.

“This case has one of the most egregious childhood stories I’ve ever heard,” McClain said about Marek after the hearing. “It’s a never-ending saga of horrible things happening to him.”

McClain said Marek bounced from foster home to foster home in his youth and suffered from a speech impediment and was often called “retard.”

Marek has had no visitors in three years, the Department of Corrections reported Monday.

Carolyn Snurkowski, capital appeals director for the Florida attorney general’s office, represented the state at Monday’s hearing.

Gov. Charlie Crist signed Marek’s death warrant last month, scheduling the execution for May 13. There have been three executions at Florida State Prison near Starke since Crist became governor in January 2007.

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