THE TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT (Johnstown, Pa.)
— An editorial: Capital punishment on trial
Opinion: The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.
A botched execution in Florida has given death-penalty opponents new ammunition in their fight to end the practice.
Whether you’re for or against executions, you should be appalled that a normally 15-minute process to end the life of a convicted killer by lethal injection took two doses and 34 minutes, raising speculation that the inmate suffered psychological and physical discomfort while his family experienced extreme anguish.
Angel Nieves Diaz, 55, was put to death for murdering a Miami bar manager 27 years ago. Witnesses said Diaz grimaced before dying, although an autopsy report has not concluded whether, in fact, he did suffer.
What the report did confirm, however, was that needles were wrongly inserted into the flesh of his arms, instead of into his veins as is proper procedure.
Along with a national uproar has come decisions by Florida and California officials to suspend all executions pending further investigations. Both states use lethal injection.
The suspensions and further studies would certainly seem appropriate.
Meanwhile, there has been growing sympathy for Diaz, a man convicted of taking another person’s life, and his family.
"They had to execute him twice," said Mark Elliot, a spokesman for Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
"If Floridians could witness the pain and the agony of the executed man’s family, they would end the death penalty."
In a twist of irony, you can just sense that a lawsuit and perhaps a large payout of taxpayer money to the family could be on the horizon.