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First Coast Connect

Lethal Injection Expert: New Execution Drug May Be Inhumane, Unconstitutional

Last night Florida executed a Death Row inmate, the 14th execution performed by the state thus far this year. 51-year-old William Happ was executed by lethal injection in Starke for the 1986 rape and strangulation of a woman he encountered by chance in a convenience store parking lot.

The execution was the first in the state to use the new drug midazolam hydrochloride despite concerns it might not work as promised and could inflict cruel and unusual punishment on a death row inmate.

Fordham University School of Law Professor Deborah Denno and noted lethal injection expert joined Melissa Ross via telephone on First Coast Connect to discuss the execution of William Happ.

Amid controversy over the drug, Florida is on track to set a modern-day record for executing the most condemned inmates in a single year.

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.