A Slow, Cruel Death
Posted on Dec 14, 2006
A man executed in Florida on Wednesday took 34 minutes to die by lethal injection, and required two doses of lethal chemicals. He appeared to grimace before dying, leading some to believe he experienced pain from the procedure.
The key legal test of the death penalty, as witnessed in California recently, is whether the process is cruel and unusual. Though judicial interpretation of the phrase can vary, the tedious execution of a man who may have been in pain could give capital punishment opponents something to work with.
STARKE, Fla.—Death penalty opponents criticized the execution of a convicted murderer who took more than half an hour to die and needed a rare second dose of lethal chemicals.
Angel Nieves Diaz, 55, convicted of murdering a Miami topless bar manager 27 years ago, appeared to grimace before dying 34 minutes after receiving a double lethal chemical dose Wednesday.
Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said she doesn’t believe Diaz felt any pain. She said Diaz started snoring and became unconscious after the first three drugs were administered and never regained consciousness.
Plessinger said Diaz had liver disease, which required the second dose of lethal chemicals. But Diaz’s cousin Maria Otero said the family had no knowledge that he suffered from liver disease and said the execution was political.