Florida inmate denounces governor, screams “Murderers!” before lethal injection
24 February 2018
Florida put Eric Branch to death on Thursday after the US Supreme Court failed to halt his execution. Two lethal injections scheduled for the same day in other states did not go forward as planned.
In Alabama, the execution of Doyle Lee Hamm was called off after prison officials said they didn’t have enough time to carry it out before the midnight deadline. In Texas, the governor granted clemency to Thomas Whitaker only minutes before he was set to die.
Eric Branch, 47, was convicted and sentenced to death in 1994 for the January 1993 murder of University of West Florida student Susan Morris. According to the Pensacola News Journal, after the victim’s family members, prison officials and the media entered the execution chamber at Florida State Prison in Raiford at about 5:30 local time, a curtain was raised to reveal Branch restrained and covered by a white sheet.
Before the deadly chemicals were administered, Branch told corrections officers that Republican Governor Rick Scott, who signed his death warrant in January, should be the one to carry out his execution. Addressing those in the death chamber, according to witnesses, Branch said, “I’ve learned that you’re good people and this is not what you should be doing,” Branch yelled, “Let them come down here and do it!” referring to Scott and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
The team warden announced that the execution would begin, and an anonymous executioner began injecting the lethal mix of etomidate, bromide and potassium acetate through an IV line from behind a long curtain. Branch repeatedly yelled, “Murderers!” as he violently thrashed on the gurney, according to the PNJ.