Friday, February 06, 2004

Johnny Robinson
February 4, 2004


Last Meal: Robinson ate a final meal of fried chicken gizzards and hearts, smoked sausage, french fries, butter pecan ice cream and Dr. Pepper

The skinny: Robinson, 51, was executed for the rape and killing of a woman who had stopped to rest along a busy highway. He dumped her body in a cemetery where she was found the next day with two shots to her head. She had been handcuffed and repeatedly raped.

Robinson, an auto mechanic, was on parole after serving a prison sentence for an earlier rape in Maryland in the 1970s. He and a juvenile accomplice were arrested five days later following another robbery and rape. The accomplice, 16 at the time of the murder, is serving a life sentence.

Robinson was first sentenced to death in 1986 but his sentence was struck down because of racist comments made by the prosecutor in closing arguments. The Florida Supreme Court vacated Robinson's first death sentence, concluding that the prosecutor's questioning of a medical expert put on the witness stand by defense lawyers "was a deliberate attempt to insinuate that appellant had a habit of preying on white women and thus constituted an impermissible appeal to bias and prejudice." The prosecutor had asked if Robinson prefers to rape white women.

He was again condemned to death three years later.

Robinson admitted that he had stopped to help the victim after he saw that her car was disabled on Interstate 95. However, Robinson claimed that he took the woman to the cemetery, where they had consensual sex on the hood of a car. Robinson says he was carrying a gun and placed it on the hood of the car while he had sex with the woman. He claimed the gun "accidentally" fired, with a bullet hitting the woman in the face. Robinson said he shot her again because, "How do you tell someone I accidentally shot a white woman."

At trial, prosecutors indicated that Robinson had at least four previous rape convictions.

Delay: After a 90-minute delay asked by the U.S. Supreme Court, the execution began. He had been scheduled to die by injection at 6 p.m. at Florida State Prison, but just 15 minutes before the process was to begin, the Supreme Court asked the state "to wait for further word" without saying how long that wait might be. Shortly after 7 p.m. the court refused on a 5-4 vote to stop the execution.

Last words and such: After the curtain was opened, Robinson was asked by a prison official if he had any last words."Yep!" he said. Then he said, "Later!" And that was all.

Robinson was the...
10th murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
895th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in Florida in 2004
58th murderer executed in Florida since 1976