"Not to be confused with Colombian poet
Pedro Medina Avendaño".
Pedro Luis Medina (
October 5, 1957– March 25, 1997) was a Cuban refugee who was executed in Floridafor the murderof a former teacher; the circumstances of his executionelevated objections to the use of electrocutionas a means of capital punishment.
Medina was among nearly 125,000
Cubans who came to the United Statesduring the 1980 Mariel boatlift. He was later charged with and convicted of the 1982 stabbingmurder of a former teacherin Orlando. He was sent to Death Rowat Florida State Prisonnear the town of Starkein 1982. Medina's last words before being executed on March 25, 1997, were "I am still innocent". During the administration of current, the electric chairknown as " Old Sparky", malfunctioned, causing flames to shoot out of Medina's head.
In 1999, the state of Florida heard a petition from
Thomas Harrison Provenzano, another death rowinmate, that argued that the electric chair was a cruel and unusual punishment. During the proceedings, Glen Dickson, Medina's pastor, testified that he saw the flames rising out of Medina's head, smelled an acrid smell and saw Medina take three labored breaths after the electrical current to the chair had been turned off and the strap holding him in it has been loosened.
Patricia McCusker, Assistant Superintendent of the Work Camp at Florida State Prison, also testified. She said she saw Medina's left hand tighten as the current was being applied. She corroborated Dickson's observation of smoke and flames coming from Medina's head and a smell, which she said was a burning smell.
McCusker stated that she also saw movements in Medina's chest after the current had been turned off, but claimed it was contractions of the chest muscle that did not imply breathing.
List of individuals executed in Florida
Capital punishment in the United States
* [http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/deathrow/drorder.html August 3, 1999 Order Upholding Constitutionality of the Electric Chair]
* [http://www.fadp.org/news/tbo_5_17.htm Florida Has Executed 56 Inmates Since 1979] . "Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty" (
2003-05-16). Retrieved on 2007-11-14.
* [http://www.dc.state.fl.us/InmateReleases/inmateaction.asp?DataAction=GetInmate&DCNumber=088991 Inmate Release Information Detail - Inmate 088991] . "
Florida Department of Corrections". Retrieved on 2008-05-29.
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