FLORIDA LAST MEAL
February 26, 2003
Last Meal: King was not offered a special meal because he already had received two of them during previous stays.
The skinny: King was executed for the rape and murder of a 68-year-old woman in her home 26 years ago. He killed her after slipping away from a neighboring work-release prison, then set her home on fire. King was caught, in bloody clothing, trying to return to the prison at about the time firefighters and police arrived at Brady's home. He fought with a counselor, who was stabbed 15 times with a knife.
Close Calls: King's insistence that DNA testing could clear him of the raping and killing led Gov. Jeb Bush to issue a stay 90 minutes before King was to be executed Dec. 2. Bush lifted the stay this month after the tests yielded no new evidence. In the past, Gov. Bob Graham signed King's first execution warrant in 1981, and Gov. Bob Martinez signed another in 1988. Under Bush, his execution was stayed four times last year. The execution was delayed for about 30 minutes before the Supreme Court denied his final appeal.
Last words and such: "I would like the governor and the family to know I am an innocent man, and the state had evidence to that effect," King said in his final statement. "I'm sorry for the victim's family, for all the things we have gone through."
The victim's family: The victim's niece had planned to attend the execution but had prepared for disappointment after enduring years of delays and stays. ``Why did she have to die and somebody who was never productive got to live all these years?''
Aftermath: King, who converted to Buddhism while serving on death row, was accompanied by a Buddhist priest throughout the day on Wednesday. After an autopsy, his body will be released to another Buddhist priest who is expected to have it cremated.
Factoid: King became the 55th inmate to die since Florida reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
Last year, only 13 states carried out executions, the fewest since 1994.