Sunday, 17 June 2007


Ian Lightbourne

On June 18 and 19, the next round of hearings into the botched execution ofAngel Diaz are expected to reveal more startling revelations. Attorneys for Death Row inmate Ian Lightbourne are arguing that the botched lethal injection of Diaz violated the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. "This is the first real court test of whether Angel Diaz was tortured to death by the State of Florida on December 13, 2006," states Mark Elliott, Director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

The contentious proceedings in Marion County Courtroom of 5th Circuit Judge Carven D. Angel, are revealing more information from prison officials and witnesses about the dramatic events surrounding the execution.Revelations from the previous round of hearings on May 18 and 21 include:Warden Randall Bryant testified that OFFICE OF GOVERNOR JEB BUSH was the source of the now-discredited statement delivered by D.O.C. spokesperson Gretel Plessinger at the press conference following the execution.

Ms. Plessinger read the official statement to the press - that nothing happened that was "not unanticipated", that the D.O.C. had known Diaz had a "liver condition" that slowed the absorption of the drugs and caused the lengthy execution, that they expected to have to use additional chemicals on Diaz, that that the protocols were followed and that Diaz appeared peaceful and was snoring throughout the procedure. All these statements are now known to be false.

Says FADP'sElliott, "The initial response from Gov. Bush's office and the D.O.C. appears to have been a clumsy attempt at a cover-up." Testimony from Lay Chaplain Dale Recinella that he had "just witnessed a man being tortured to death." Execution witness Eduardo Arenas came forward to swear that Diaz was grimacing and trying to speak far into the over half hour execution.

Testimony from Assistant Warden Willie Dixon that Raquel Rodriguez, General Counsel to then Gov. Jeb Bush, was monitoring the Diaz execution chamber by telephone and became alarmed that there was a problem and demanded Assistant Warden Dixon "check with the medical people to see if they had mixed the chemicals right." She was rebuffed by Warden Bryant.

The Marion County Courtroom of Judge Carven D. Angel is located at 110 NW 1stAve. in downtown Ocala, (352) 401-6700. Hearings continue at 8:30 am, June 18and 19.

The lead attorney for Lightbourne's appeal is Suzanne Keffer of Capital Collateral Regional Counsel (CCRC South) (954) 713-1284.

SENT BY: Mark Elliott Spokesperson Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP) 800-973-6548 PMB 335, 2603 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hwy, Gainesville, FL 32609

FADP CONTACTS:Mark Elliott: 727-215-9646

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty works for restorative justice in the form of effective alternatives to the death penalty. Itdoes so by

* supporting and coordinating the work of organizations and individuals

* educating and energizing the general public and state legislators

* supporting the many persons affected by capital crime and punishment

* advocating specific legislative improvements

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