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Florida Suspends Executions for Medical Review

An execution in Florida this week that took more than twice as long as usual has prompted Gov. Jeb Bush to ask for an investigation. Gov. Bush took the step after a preliminary autopsy showed how much went wrong with the execution this week of Angel Diaz.

The governor has ordered the suspension of all executions in the state until the state's lethal injection procedures are reviewed.

Diaz was sentenced to die after being convicted of a 1979 murder.


Wednesday, Diaz was strapped to a gurney and wheeled into the execution chamber at the Florida State prison. Department of Corrections employees then administered three drugs that are part of the state's lethal injection cocktail. But Diaz didn't die.

The executioner was forced to inject a second round of lethal drugs; Diaz was finally declared dead 34 minutes after the process began. Death by lethal injection normally takes 15 minutes.

Corrections officials say Diaz had a liver disease, and they believe that may have accounted for the lengthy death process and the need for a second round of drugs.

Diaz's family and some doctors dispute that. But because of the unusual circumstances, Gov. Bush ordered Corrections Secretary James McDonough to conduct a thorough review of the execution, complete with an autopsy and interviews with those who were in the death chamber.

The Florida Supreme Court has ordered the state to preserve all evidence and records related to Diaz's execution and to make them available to attorneys in a lawsuit that's challenging the use of lethal injection in Florida.


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