Pedro Medina

"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 Florida for the murder of a former teacher; the circumstances of his execution elevated objections to the use of electrocution as a means of capital punishment.

Medina was among nearly 125,000 Cubans who came to the United States during the 1980 Mariel boatlift. He was later charged with and convicted of the 1982 stabbing murder of a former teacher in Orlando. He was sent to Death Row at Florida State Prison near the town of Starke in 1982. Medina's last words before being executed on March 25, 1997, were "I am still innocent". During the administration of current, the electric chair known as "Old Sparky", malfunctioned, causing flames to shoot out of Medina's head.

Controversy

In 1999, the state of Florida heard a petition from Thomas Harrison Provenzano, another death row inmate, 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.

See also

* List of individuals executed in Florida
* Capital punishment in the United States

References

* [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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