Jeb Bush suspended all executions in Florida after a medical examiner said Friday that prison officials botched the insertion of the needles when a convicted killer was put to death earlier this week. Separately, a federal judge in California extended a moratorium on executions in the nation’s most populous state, declaring that the state’s method of lethal injection violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
In Florida, medical examiner Dr. William Hamilton said Wednesday’s execution of Angel Nieves Diaz took 34 minutes — twice as long as usual — and required a rare second dose of lethal chemicals because the needles were inserted clear through his veins and into the flesh in his arms. The chemicals are supposed to go into the veins.
David Elliot, spokesman for the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, said experts his group had contacted suspected that liver disease was not the explanation for the problem.
“Florida has certainly deservedly earned a reputation for being a state that conducts botched executions, whether its electrocution or lethal injection,” Elliot said. “We just think the Florida death penalty system is broken from start to finish.”
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Picture: The daughter of Angel Nieves Diaz, Debbie Nieves, left, and her aunt, Nena Nieves, right, cry outside the Florida State Correctional Facility in Starke, Fla. Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2006 before Diaz was executed in the prison. A man convicted of murdering the manager of a topless bar 27 years ago was executed by injection Wednesday despite his protests of innocence and requests for clemency made by the governor of his native Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)