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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Florida reinstituted the death penalty: State executes child killer

A4s_execute070208_29260c STARKE — Florida reinstituted the death penalty Tuesday with the execution of a child killer. Unlike a botched execution in 2006 that halted the state's death penalty for more than a year, the execution of Mark Dean Schwab appeared seamless and peaceful. Schwab, 39, made no final statement and stopped moving only two or three minutes after chemicals began flowing into his veins.

He was pronounced dead 13 minutes after the death chamber's curtain rolled open.

"That was the most peaceful passing I've ever been to, and I wish I could know that my son passed as peacefully," said Vickie Rios-Martinez, the mother of Schwab's victim, Junny Rios-Martinez.

Schwab abducted, raped and murdered 11-year-old Junny in 1991 after seeing his picture in a newspaper. Schwab posed as his father and lured him to a ball field.

Florida halted executions after the Dec. 13, 2006, death of Angel Diaz. Corrections officials mistakenly poked needles through Diaz's veins, causing the chemicals to splash into his flesh. Diaz took 34 minutes to die, and some observers said he appeared in pain. An autopsy found footlong chemical burns on his arms.

Then-Gov. Jeb Bush convened a panel to study lethal injection procedures. The Florida Department of Corrections adopted 37 changes in protocol recommended by the panel. [Mark Godsey]

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