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Stay Of Execution Lifted For Death Row Inmate

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

The Florida Supreme Court on Friday lifted a stay of execution for a Death Row inmate who argued that the state's lethal-injection method would violate his constitutional rights.

Justices issued a 30-page unanimous ruling that rejected arguments raised by attorneys for Jerry Correll, who was convicted in the 1985 stabbing deaths in Orlando of his ex-wife, their 5-year-old daughter, his ex-mother-in-law and her sister.

Gov. Rick Scott in January ordered Correll's execution, but it was put on hold pending a U.S. Supreme Court decision in an Oklahoma case that centered on the use of the drug midazolam in the lethal-injection process. States such as Oklahoma and Florida use midazolam as the first part of a three-drug combination, and Death Row inmates argued it violated constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

The U.S. Supreme Court in June upheld the use of midazolam, but the Florida Supreme Court refused to lift a stay of Correll's execution.

Correll, 59, argued that midazolam posed a higher risk to him because of his alleged brain damage and history of drug use, and the Florida Supreme Court said a circuit judge should consider that issue. Orange County Circuit Judge Jenifer Davis held a hearing in August and ruled against Correll.

The Supreme Court decision Friday upheld Davis' ruling. The Supreme Court said "Correll's challenge to the use of midazolam fails first because he has failed to show that he is very likely to endure needless suffering upon the administration of midazolam."