Florida set to execute a man today

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That will take place at the First United Church of Tampa at 7308 E. Fowler Avenue, from 3:30- 4:30 p.m

Several anti-death penalty groups will be in attendance, including Mark Elliot, Executive Director, Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, who says in a statement:

“The killing of Troy Davis shall not be in vain. It may well mark the beginning of the end of executions. Florida has a far worse record of Death Penalty mistakes than Georgia and yet Florida continues to kill,” states Mark Elliott, Executive director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

“Florida spends an estimated $50 million every year on a government program that has failed…failed to deliver justice for murder victims and their families, failed to keep the public safer, failed to protect law enforcement and failed to keep innocent people off Death Row (23 exonerated thus far).”

“It is time to end this barbaric, unnecessary and error-prone government program and re-allocate these vast resources to assisting victims of violent crime and their families, preventing crime and protecting those who protect us.”

Meanwhile in Tallahassee, state House Democrat Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda has re-introduced her bill, HB 4051, that would repeal the death penalty, and put those convicted of capital felonies in prison for life without parole.

In a statement, Rehwinkel Vasilinda said, ""A sentence of life in prison without parole allows mistakes to be corrected or new evidence to come to light. That would increase faith and fairness in our justice system."

There is no companion bill filed yet in the Senate. Last year her bill died in committee, and based on the fact that the same legislators will be returning to the state capitol next year for the 2012 session, its chances for even getting a hearing are extremely low.

Manuel Valle
  • Manuel Valle

Barring a last minute intervention by the courts, the state of Florida is scheduled to kill 61-year-old Manuel Valle at 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon in Starke. If executed, he will become the first Florida death row inmate from a newly revised mix of lethal drugs.

Valle is on death row for the killing of police office Louis Pena in April of 1978. According to a second police officer who was involved with the incident, Gary Spell, after shooting and killing Pena, Valle then fired two shots at Spell, who was saved by his bulletproof vest. Valle fled and was arrested two days later.

Valle was first sentenced to die in 1981, but the state Supreme Court ordered a new trial later that year. He was again convicted and sentenced to die, but the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the death sentence in 1986. Another jury recommended death in 1988.

There will be a vigil protesting Valle's execution this afternoon in Tampa.

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