Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bush signs death warrant for 1979 murder - Angel Diaz

Nov 14, 6:50 PM EST

Bush signs death warrant for 1979 murder

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Gov. Jeb Bush signed a death warrant Tuesday for Angel Diaz, convicted of murdering the manager of a Miami topless bar nearly 27 years ago.

Corrections officials set his execution by lethal injection for Dec. 13 at Florida State Prison in Starke.

Diaz was convicted of fatally shooting Joseph Nagy with a silencer-equipped gun while robbing The Velvet Swing with two accomplices Dec. 22, 1979.

Diaz fired into the air after they entered the bar, authorities said. They then robbed several patrons and locked them in a restrooms. Nagy was shot when he confronted the intruders.

The case remained unsolved until 1983 when Diaz' girlfriend told police he was involved. A victim then identified him from a photo lineup and he was matched to fingerprints found at the scene
Diaz has a long criminal history including a murder conviction and an escape from prison in his native Puerto Rico and another prison escape in Connecticut

He conducted his own defense with a standby lawyer during most of his Florida trial. He was represented by counsel for jury selection and sentencing.

Then-Gov. Bob Martinez signed a death warrant for Diaz in 1989, but the Florida Supreme Court granted him a stay of execution pending further appeals. He has appealed to various state and federal courts since then until the U.S. Supreme Court last year refused to take his case.

A lawyer for Diaz did not immediately return calls left at his home and office.

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