"Killer of prison guard is executed," is the AP report, via Florida Today.
A Florida inmate was executed Tuesday for fatally stabbing a prison guard with a sharpened spoon while on death row for abducting and killing a Miami couple.
Askari Abdullah Muhammad, previously known as Thomas Knight, was pronounced dead at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday following a lethal injection at Florida State Prison, the governor’s office said.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his final appeals, but Justice Stephen Breyer said in a dissent he would have granted a stay to hear Muhammad’s claims that it may be unconstitutional to execute an inmate after such a long time on death row.
The Dissent by Justice Breyer in Muhammad v. Florida is available in Adobe .pdf format.
I would grant the application for stay of execution and the petition for certiorari limited to the Lackey claim. See Lackey v. Texas, 514 U. S. 1045 (1995) (Stevens, J., respecting denial of certiorari); Elledge v. Florida, 525 U. S. 944 (1998) (BREYER, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari); Knight v. Florida, 528 U.S. 990, 993 (1999) (BREYER, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari); Valle v. Florida, 564 U. S. (2011) (BREYER, J., dissenting from denial of stay).
Justice Breyer was alert to the issue of prolonged incarceration before execution in a 2011 Florida case, as cited above.
"Thomas Knight, who killed Miami couple and a prison guard, executed," is by David Ovalle for the Miami Herald.
At 6:31 p.m. Tuesday at the Florida State Prison, his home for most of the past 40 years, Knight was injected with a lethal cocktail of drugs. The execution warrant was technically issued for the fatal stabbing of corrections officer Richard Burke in 1980. But he also had been sentenced to death for the brutal slayings of Sydney and Lillian Gans, who he had kidnapped and shot to death in the woods of South Miami-Dade six years earlier .
Knight’s blinking eyes snapped shut. Covered in a sheet, his hands wrapped in gauze, his arms pierced by IV’s, Knight seemed to drift into slumber. His breathing slowed. A prison official tapped his eyelids and slightly shook his shoulders.
At 6:45 p.m., a doctor pronounced the triple murderer — who had spent more time on death row than all but two other killers — dead.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports, "Inmate who killed Miami couple and guard is executed," by Monivette Cordeiro of the Halifax Media Group.
At 6:30 p.m., the brown curtain behind the glass door was lifted and Muhammad was asked if he had any last words, to which he replied, “No.” He blinked a few times and then shut his eyes as the lethal injection began coursing through his veins at 6:31 p.m.
Burke's daughter Carolyn Burke Thompson wiped tears from her face as the man who killed her father was being executed. Thompson's fiance, Harold Spencer, held her arm and hugged her as they watched Muhammad's final moments.
During the final moments of the execution, Muhammad's right eye opened slightly. Fourteen minutes later, he was declared dead by a doctor at 6:45 p.m. after having been on death row for almost four decades.