For the first time since 1976, Florida has executed a white man for racial killing. 53-year-old Mark James Asay was executed on Thursday by a lethal injection drug for a racially motivated double murder. He was sentenced to death in 1988 for the murders of Robert Lee Booker, 34, a black man, and Robert McDowell, 26. Robert McDowell however, was later identified as white and Hispanic and had dressed as a woman.
As Independent.co.uk reports, data from Death Penalty Information Center reveals that in Florida, Asay is the first white man to be executed for killing a black man while at least 20 black men have been awarded the death penalty for killing white people ever since the death penalty was reinstated in the state in 1976.
Mark James Asay’s execution was landmark in some more ways. He was the first person in the history of America executed by the use of the drug, etomidate — part of a cocktail. He was also the first to be executed ever since the requirement of unanimous jury recommendation was started by the Florida Legislature.
Apart from etomidate, two more drugs, rocuronium bromide and potassium acetate were used in his prosecution. Use of these drugs in execution was largely castigated since it is considered an inhumane and harsh way to kill.
According to the prosecutors, Asay, who bears white supremacist and swastika tattoos, was a white supremacist and had killed the two men for their race. The shootings were done by him hours apart in Jacksonville downtown in 1987.
In a jailhouse interview, Asay had denied shooting Booker and said that he had shot McDowell, who, according to him, was Rene. He had mentioned his own versions of events for killing McDowell and said that it happened in inebriated rage. The convict was sorry for having done what he did and said that “Rene” was his friend. He also said that he did not go out with an intent of having problems with anybody and that he just got drunk.