Mark Asay put to death with experimental injection
The state of Florida, late Thursday, for the first time in its history, executed a white inmate at the state prison in Starke, for killing a black man.
Mark James Asay, 53, a white supremacist, who was convicted and sentenced to death for killing Robert Lee Booker, 34, and Robert McDowell, 26, in 1987, was scheduled to die by lethal injection.
Since Florida reinstated the death penalty in 1976, at least 18 black men have been executed for killing white victims, according to data from the Death Penalty Information Center.
Asay's execution was the state's first in 18 months, done using a drug that had never been used in U.S. history.
Capital punishment opponents' have pressured pharmaceutical companies to stop selling lethal injection drugs to the states. Consequently, it has become a struggle to find execution chemicals. However, some experts emphasized that the new cocktail might cause pain, can make the body writhe, making it difficult for prison staff to know if an innate is unconscious before the execution’s next stage begins.
Asay and his friends were looking for prostitutes after a night of drinking and shooting pool. He fatally shot Booker, who was walking on the street, after Asay verbally assaulted him with racial slurs.
His second victim was Robert McDowell, 26, of mixed race, -- white and Hispanic. Prosecutors said Asay hired McDowell, who was dressed as a woman, for sex and shot him to death after discovering his gender, according to the court report.
Speaking to News4Jax, a local tv station, Asay -- associated with right-wing groups while in a Texas prison and was once inked with a swastika tattoo. He denied the neo-Nazi allegations, and claimed that he got the tattoos for protection.