Saturday, December 23, 2006
The Associated Press
December 22, 2006, 11:57 PM EST
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Family denounces botched Florida execution at funeral in Puerto Rico.
A Puerto Rican man whose botched execution in Florida renewed opposition to the death penalty in the United States and this island territory was buried Friday in a ceremony attended by about 100 people.
Angel Nieves Diaz, a career criminal condemned for killing a manager of a Miami topless bar 27 years ago, was given a second dose of deadly chemicals as he took more than half an hour to die on Dec. 13.
At the funeral in suburban Rio Piedras, family members said they hoped the notoriety of Diaz's case would boost the international campaign against capital punishment.
"God chose my uncle to change history," said Jackeline Nieves. "Now the death penalty isn't seen as something normal. It's seen as the worst, most inhumane method."
Medical experts said the 55-year-old convict could have experienced severe pain as needles that were supposed to inject drugs into his veins were instead pushed all the way through the blood vessels into surrounding soft tissue.
The case prompted Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to suspend all executions in the state as a commission examines its lethal injection process.
The U.S. Caribbean territory abolished capital punishment in 1929. However, federal prosecutors can seek the death penalty in some cases because Puerto Rico is subject to U.S. federal law.