Death Penalty

Death-row inmate seeking 'spiritual freedom' opts for statutory right to electric chair

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Wayne Doty was already serving a life prison term for a 1996 murder when he and another man incarcerated at Florida State Prison in Raiford murdered a fellow inmate.

That second murder, of a man accused of stealing a package of cigarettes, put Doty, now 42, on death row. After four years there, he says in a handwritten affidavit that he is ready for the execution that will bring “peace to the victim’s family as well as my spiritual freedom.” So, in what seems to be an effort to expedite his execution, Doty has exercised a little-known statutory provision and opted for the electric chair, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

After two botched executions in the late 1990s, state lawmakers changed the method of execution in Florida to lethal injection. But the authorizing legislation included a provision that death-row inmates could still opt for the electric chair instead, if they wished to, the newspaper explains.

In the approximately 15 years since the law was passed, Doty is the first and only one to do so.

“I think his goal is to get put to death as quickly as possible,” private investigator Sean Fisher, who worked for Doty at one point, told the Times. “I think he’s nervous about lethal injection being found unconstitutional.”

Until recently, the death penalty was on hold in Florida as litigation challenging the state’s lethal injection method wended its way through the courts. But the U.S. Supreme Court gave its OK, and the next execution is now scheduled for Oct. 30.

Florida’s governor has not yet issued a death warrant in response to Doty’s affidavit, which he signed on Aug. 12. That was shortly after the state supreme court, in a mandatory review, upheld his death sentence. But he has waived all appeals and state corrections officials say his execution date could be set at any time, the Times reports.

Related coverage:

New York Times (reg. req.): “Florida Lawmakers Reject Electric Chair”

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Neb.’s Top Court Bans Electric Chair, Ending Death Penalty … For Now”

ABAJournal.com: “Tennessee brings back the electric chair”

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