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Florida kills convicted racist murderer with untried drug

The US state of Florida has executed a man with a drug never used before in a US lethal injection. The inmate was the first white man in the state to be executed for killing a black man since the late 1970s.

Mark James Asay was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m. local time (2222 UTC) on Thursday at the state prison in Bradford County, Florida officials said.

The 53-year-old's death followed a three-drug injection that began with the anesthetic, etomidate.

When asked whether he wanted to make a final statement, Asay replied: "No sir, I do not. Thank you."

Read more: US state of Ohio carries out first execution in more than 3 years

Asay's last meal consisted of fried ham, fried pork chops, french fries, vanilla swirl ice cream and a can of Coca-Cola, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections said.

Drug never used before 

The execution protocol began with a dose of etomidate at 6:10 p.m. That was followed by rocuronium bromide, a paralytic, and finally, potassium acetate, which stops the heart.

Etomidate has been criticized by some as being unproven in an execution. It was used as a replacement for midazolam, which has become difficult to obtain since many drug companies started refusing to provide it for executions.

Asay was the first white man to be put to death in Florida for killing a black man since the state reinstituted the death penalty in 1979.

He was sentenced to death in 1988 after fatally shooting 34-year-old Robert Lee Booker in what prosectors argued was a racially motivated murder. Asay was also convicted over the 1987 murder of 26-year-old Robert McDowell, who was mixed race, white and Hispanic.

nm/rc (AP, Reuters)

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