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Lethal injection chamber
FILE – In this November 2005 file photo, Larry Greene, public information director of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, demonstrates how a curtain is pulled between the death chamber and witness room at the prison in Lucasville, Ohio. On Monday, May 1, 2017, Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich delayed nine executions as a court fight continues over the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process, including a contested sedative used in problematic executions in at least three states. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

Florida executed a double-murderer with a new drug


Florida on Thursday executed a convicted double-murderer using a drug that had never previously been used during a U.S. lethal injection.

Authorities said Mark Asay, 53, was pronounced dead around 6:22 p.m. local time that evening at Florida’s state prison in Starke.

Asay, the first white man executed in Florida for killing a black man, received a three-drug injection that began with an anesthetic called etomidate.

Etomidate had previously been approved by Florida’s Supreme Court, but critics accused it of being untested in an execution.

Some Twitter users on Friday criticized Florida for its execution of Asay the night before, while others commented upon etomidate’s role in his death.

Asay’s execution protocol began around 6:10 p.m. local time, and his feet jerked slightly and his mouth opened roughly a minute after he was injected with the first drug.

Michelle Glady, a spokeswoman for the corrections department, said there was no complication in the procedure and that Asay did not talk during it.

Etomidate is the first of three drugs used in Florida’s latest execution mixture, with the second being rocuronium bromide, a paralytic.

Potassium acetate is then injected last as it stops the heart, and Thursday’s execution was the first time the drug has been used in Florida.

A death penalty expert told The Associated Press Thursday that potassium acetate was mistakenly used during a 2015 execution in Oklahoma but has not been utilized elsewhere.

Prosecutors say Asay made racist remarks in 1987 during his fatal shooting of Robert Lee Booker, a 34-year-old black man.

Asay was also convicted of murdering Robert McDowell, 26, during an encounter between them the same year.

Prosecutors said Asay hired McDowell as a prostitute while he was dressed as a woman and then killed him upon discovering his real gender.

The Supreme Court rejected Asay’s final appeal earlier Thursday, and he declined to make a final statement before his death.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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