Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Convicted Miami killer pleads his case to avoid lethal injection

Convicted Miami killer pleads his case to avoid lethal injection

The Associated Press

Posted November 27 2006, 4:49 PM EST

TALLAHASSEE -- A death row inmate who fatally shot a Miami topless club manager nearly 27 years ago asked the Florida Supreme Court on Monday to block his execution next month.

A lawyer for Angel Diaz filed a brief notice of appeal from a trial court's summary denial of his motion for post-conviction relief and requests for public records.

Diaz challenged Florida's lethal injection procedure on grounds it is unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment, an argument unsuccessfully made by three other inmates who have been executed this year.

His lawyer, Suzanne Myers Keffer, contends his appeal is based on new evidence the Supreme Court did not consider in those cases. The justices have given Diaz and the state until Thursday afternoon to file written arguments.

Diaz is set for execution Dec. 13.

He was convicted of first-degree murder after defending himself at trial with help from a standby lawyer. The victim, Joseph Nagy, was shot with a silencer-equipped gun when Diaz and two accomplices robbed The Velvet Swing on Dec. 22, 1979.Diaz escaped from prison in his native Puerto Rico where he had been convicted of another murder. He also escaped from a Connecticut prison.,0,4394663.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

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