“I want to thank all my lawyers, all of my supporters and all my family members,” Prieto said before his execution. Then he murmured: “Let’s get it over with.”
Prieto, who was born in El Salvador, had been sentenced to death in Virginia in 2010 – for the murder of a young couple two decades earlier. At the time of sentencing he was already sitting in Florida Death Row a prison, because he had raped and killed a 15-year-old. The Californian authorities put him to Virginia, because there the probability was greater that the execution would be carried out.
The 49-year-old for six more murders in California blamed and Virginia. In these cases, but was never indicted because Prieto had already been sentenced to death.
Court: further delay is not justified
Prieto’s lawyers had until recently tried to prevent the execution. They wanted more information about the delivery of the agent pentobarbital. Virginia had the part of lethal injection in Texas received. The lawyers expressed concern about the quality of the agent, and said they feared an agonizing death of her clients.
But a district judge lifted the injunction against the execution. The lawyers had not sufficiently demonstrated that the drugs are unsafe, Henry E. Hudson explained his decision. A further stay of execution was not justified given the “alarming number of people who murdered Prieto, raped and injured” had.
Following the rejection of the postponement, the lawyers called even the US Supreme Court in order to avert the execution at the last minute. They called to let check the state of mind of their clients again. The reason: The test applied in Prieto in 2008 was unconstitutional. Last year, the Supreme Court had ruled Florida should not be rigidly guided by the scores in IQ tests to decide whether someone is mentally handicapped or not.
The United States is the only Western country where the death penalty is still enforced. It is allowed in 31 of the 50 states and at the federal level. This year, 21 death sentences have already been executed. On Wednesday, the mother of three children Kelly Gissendaner was in Georgia executed. In Oklahoma, the execution of death row inmates Richard Glossip was due to doubts about the poisonous mixture at the last minute on the same day moved.