Mark James Asay was convicted in 1988 of two racially motivated murders. Witnesses claimed Asay used racial slurs during the murders of both 34-year-old Robert Lee Booker and 26-year-old Renee Torres born Robert McDowell. At the time of their deaths, Booker and Torres were classified in legal documents as Black. Torres was later identified as white and hispanic. Prosecutors argued Asay’s violence was motivated by racial hate.
He was sentenced to death, but his execution was stalled by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that determined a jury must agree unanimously before someone is sentenced to die. His lawyers attempts to appeal the decision were unsuccessful.
Asay was also the first inmate to die using Florida’s new lethal injection cocktail, containing etomidate, rocuronium, bromide and potassium acetate. Etomidate has never been used in an execution before, and is meant to act as an anesthetic.
Since Florida reinstated the death penalty in 1976, 18 Black men have been executed for killing white men.
“This does nothing to change the 170-year-long history of Florida not executing whites for killing blacks,” Mark Elliot, executive director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty said.