Since 1976, 20 Black men have been executed for the murders of White victims. Yet, a Thursday will mark the first time in the state’s history that a White man will be executed for murdering a Black person according to the Associated Press.
In 1987, Mark Asay killed Robert E. Booker after making a slew of racist comments towards the 34-year-old. He then murdered 26-year-old Robert McDowell — whom he solicited for sexual services — after discovering a mixed-race Dowell was a man. Asay was sentenced to death for the murders the following year. Asay, 53, belonged to a white supremacist group while in prison.
On on Thursday, Asay will died by way of lethal injection in Florida. One of the three drugs that will be used to kill Asay etomidate, has never been used in any other executions in the U.S.
Controversy has surrounded Florida’s decision to use the drug for lethal injections.
Doctors hired by Asay’s lawyers claimed that on some occasions, the drug has caused pain and involuntary writhing in patients.
“The Florida Department of Corrections follows the law and carries out the sentence of the court,” Michelle Glady, the Florida Department of Corrections’ spokeswoman, said in a statement obtained by AP. “This is the Department’s most solemn duty and the foremost objective of the lethal injection procedure is a humane and dignified process.”
In regards to the history, Florida will be making on Thursday, executive director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty Mark Elliot doesn’t consider the milestone to hold much implication.
“This does nothing to change the 170-year-long history of Florida not executing whites for killing blacks,” Elliot told AP.
In 2005, Florida adopted the Stand Your Ground Law, a proposal by the corporate-funded American Legislative Council (ALEC). The law is used to pardon those who have injured or killed someone under suspicion their life was being threatened. Stand Your Ground was used as the basis for the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer George Zimmerman in 2013. In June, the law was amended by Florida Governor Rick Scott to make claims of self-defense simpler.
Asay was also the first Florida man to be executed in 19 months after the U.S. Supreme Court put a hold on executions in the state.