The Saturday Lakeland Ledger published the second of a two-part editorial, "Florida Execution: Cruelty In New Punishment."
Yet, as long as the Constitution bans cruel and unusual punishment, and its people desire to be guided by their best and not their basest instincts, people need to question whether those values are consistent with the way the death penalty is used.
William Happ, 51, was executed Oct. 15 at Florida State Prison for the rape and murder of Angela Crowley in 1986. Happ kidnapped the 21-year-old Crowley from her car before raping, beating and strangling her. It was a horrific crime by anyone's definition.
Happ's execution was the first in the United States to use a new drug in the lethal-injection process. Happ remained conscious longer and made more body movements after losing consciousness than most inmates executed under the old combination of drugs, reported news witnesses.
Florida's experimentation with the drug is just the latest example of its haphazard manner of conducting executions. Its failure to conduct humane executions peels back the sanitized image of the lethal-injection process, which keeps society from facing the ethical conflicts of state-sponsored killing.