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FL Uses New Drug in Execution

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

William Happ, who expressed "agonizing shame" before his execution Tuesday night at Florida State Prison in Starke, was the first prisoner put to death in Florida using the common surgical anesthetic Versed, the Associated Press reported.

Versed caused Happ to lose consciousness. It was followed by a drug that induces paralysis, and finally one that causes cardiac arrest. The three drugs replaced one that is no longer available because Europeans who make the drug but object to capital punishment will no longer sell it for that purpose.

An Associated Press reporter who observed the execution wrote that it "appeared Happ remained conscious longer and made more body movements after losing consciousness than other people executed recently by lethal injection under the old formula."

Happ was convicted of the rape-murder of Angie Crowley  in Crystal River 24 years ago.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.