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Inmate Asks Florida Justices to Block Execution Pending Supremes’ Ruling on Lethal Injection

| January 30, 2015

Jerry Correll has been on death row since 1986. He committed the quadruple murder in July 1985 in Orlando.

Jerry Correll has been on death row since 1986. He committed the quadruple murder in July 1985 in Orlando.

A Death Row inmate Friday asked the Florida Supreme Court to at least temporarily block his scheduled Feb. 26 execution while the U.S. Supreme Court considers a challenge to a key drug used in lethal injections.


Attorneys for condemned killer Jerry William Correll filed an emergency petition seeking a stay until the U.S. Supreme Court rules in an Oklahoma case. The federal court will consider the constitutionality of a sedative that is the first drug administered during a three-step process used to execute inmates in Oklahoma, Florida and other states.

Critics argue that the drug, midazolam, does not effectively sedate inmates during the execution process and subjects them to pain that violates the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

“While the harm to Correll would be great if a stay is not granted, Florida, in comparison, will suffer little appreciable harm,” the petition filed Friday said. “If a stay is granted, the only potential harm to Florida is that it will have to wait on the Supreme Court of the United States before it can carry out the execution. That delay is a temporary harm compared to the irreparable harm of permitting an unconstitutional execution to take place. Simply stated, Correll implores this court to just pause until the controversy as to the use of midazolam is resolved, thus ensuring that if he is executed his death sentence would be administered in the most humane manner.”

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The petition came two days after Orange County Circuit Judge Jenifer M. Davis rejected a request to stay Correll’s execution.

“The Florida Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the current lethal injection protocol against constitutional challenges and held that the protocol used in Florida does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment,” Davis wrote. “This court concludes that it is bound by the foregoing precedential authority, and therefore Mr. Correll does not have a substantial likelihood of success on the merits” of the issues in the request for the stay.

Gov. Rick Scott on Jan. 16 signed a death warrant for Correll, who was convicted in the stabbing deaths of four people in 1985 in an Orlando home and is classified as a mass murderer. The victims included Correll’s ex-wife, Susan, and their 5-year-old daughter, Tuesday. Also killed were Susan Correll’s mother, Mary Lou Hines, and her sister, Marybeth Jones.

In announcing the signing of the death warrant, the governor’s office said the women were each stabbed at least 14 times, and the child was stabbed 10 times. Jerry Correll, now 59, is on Death Row at Florida State Prison.

Scott signed 21 death warrants in his first term, more than any other one or two-term governor since the reinstatement of the Death Penalty in 1976. Correll’s is his 22nd death warrant.

After Scott signed the death warrant, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed last Friday to take up the Oklahoma challenge to the lethal-injection drug. The federal court followed up Wednesday by granting a request to stay executions in Oklahoma until the challenge is resolved.

Florida began using midazolam as the first step in a three-drug execution cocktail in 2013, after it and other states previously used a drug called pentobarbital sodium. The states switched because Danish-based manufacturer Lundbeck refused to sell pentobarbital sodium directly to corrections agencies for use in executions and ordered its distributors to also stop supplying the drug for lethal-injection purposes.

–Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida

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9 Responses for “Inmate Asks Florida Justices to Block Execution Pending Supremes’ Ruling on Lethal Injection”

  1. Jack Howell says:

    I hope the Florida court does not block the execution of this low life. The argument that midazolam, does not effectively sedate inmates during the execution process and subjects them to pain that violates the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment is questionable. Convict Correll gave no thought to the pain and suffering he caused in the heinous killing of his victims. Sorry, I have zero sympathy for this low life. Put him to death as scheduled. Too bad “Old Sparky” is no longer in use!

    • Anonymous says:

      I absolutely agree. This scumbag has been living off the taxpayers for 30 years after heinously murdering his own family, including a little girl. This is insanity. Get on with it already!

    • Anonymous says:

      Killers come in many colors, sizes, ranks, and classes. Some get medals for their deeds and some get a court putting them to death. Humanity cries out to ascertain the difference while the dead are still dead. Is there a difference??

  2. CarleyB says:

    Really!!!! He had no mercy killing a 5 yo ….he’s been on Death Row long enough!!! Just do it already!

  3. m&m says:

    28 years waiting to be killed and now he wants a delay.. C’mon. Why not ask the victoms??

  4. My O My says:

    Did the deceased have an option of how they were going to die? I think not, no mercy for this thug!

  5. Joy says:

    Here we go again. Death Row is a bad idea. They get to live, eat, exercise, and then finally, after 20 years or so, pay for the crimes they committed. Bullet to the head, I say.

  6. shel says:

    All of yall should be ashamed of yourself. You don’t know the whole story. Jerry is my father and a good man. Only God is worthy of passing judgment. Yall need to think about his family before you post such horrible comments for everyone to see!

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