For the first time in nearly two decades, a Florida prison inmate is demanding that he be put to death in an electric chair, rather than by lethal injection.
The Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee bureau reports that 42-year-old Wayne Doty of Plant City wants to die as soon as possible, partly to attain what he has called “spiritual freedom.”
Florida Department of Corrections spokesman McKinley Lewis says the department is reviewing the request. He declined to comment further.
The state's electric chair hasn't been used since 1999, when a second botched execution forced the Legislature and then-Gov. Jeb Bush to change the method.
The paper quotes a private investigator who has worked for Doty in the past as saying that the inmate is “nervous about lethal injection being found unconstitutional.”
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of lethal injection in Oklahoma, where inmate Richard Glossip challenged the constitutionality of the method.
The article quotes a note from Doty reading: “I'm invoking my right of free will to choose execution by electrocution due to confliction (sic) surrounding executions through lethal injection.”
The battle over the constitutionality of lethal injection continues as opponents say the three-drug cocktail constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, which violates the Eighth Amendment.
The Florida newspaper also reports that the electric chair was last used in two botched executions — one in 1997, when the mask over inmate Pedro Medina's face caught fire, and in 1999, when inmate Allen Lee Davis, heaved and bled for five minutes before dying.
Jeb Bush insisted at the time that the chair worked “flawlessly” and that opponents of the chair were “getting all worked up about a nosebleed.”
Doty was sentenced to death after pleading guilty to killing an inmate while serving a life sentence for the slaying of a watchman at a Plant City manufacturing plant.
Al Jazeera and wire services