Monday, 28 May 2007

Attorneys verbally joust during Lightbourne death penalty hearing

Attorneys verbally joust during Lightbourne death penalty hearing

OCALA - Attorneys jousted in the courtroom today, and at times rudely cut each other off during a death penalty hearing.

It was the second day of testimony in the Ian Deco Lightbourne, 47, death penalty case. His attorneys are arguing the botched Angel Diaz execution last year is a clear example of why the death penalty is cruel and unusual.

Emotions ran high at times as Senior Assistant Attorney General Ken Nunnelley accused Lightbourne's lawyers of being “malicious” when questioning witnesses about their involvement in previous executions.

Diaz was executed by lethal injection on Dec. 13, 2006. His death took 34 minutes - twice as long as it usually takes. Authorities had to administer a second dose of the lethal drugs to kill him. Executions were halted in Florida pending an investigation of Diaz's death. They are set to resume as early as this month.

Several witnesses, including Diaz's lawyer, his Catholic spiritual advisor and media reporters recalled what appeared to be a painful execution.

Department of Corrections employees recall a different account.

Major William Muse testified Monday that the death appeared normal and that no one at the staff briefing after the death expressed any concerns.

Circuit Judge Carven Angel had questions of his own. He asked several witnesses about a timeline of events and the time of death for Diaz.

Lightbourne was sentenced to death in 1981 for the murder of Marion County horse breeder Nancy O'Farrell, the daughter of a prominent horse farming family.

Hearings in the Lightbourne death case will resume sometime in late June or July.

Read more of this story in Tuesday's Star-Banner or revisit

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