Today I’ll be traveling to Florida State Prison in Raiford, to cover the execution of Manuel Valle. I’ve talked about some of the specifics of Valle’s case before, but there’s an incredible account of exactly what happened that day in 1978 on the Miami Herald’s site today. In it, the writer describes how Officer Pena pulled over the stolen Camaro Valle was driving for running a red light. In an incredible twist, the computer used to identify stolen cars was down and Pena was going to let Valle go, but the 27-year-old Cuban national didn’t know that and was afraid Pena would find out he violated his parole. He went to his car for a cigarette and returned with the .380-caliber pistol used to kill Pena. There’s much more in the article, and I’d definitely recommend taking 10 minutes to read it.
I wrote recently about the concerns Valle’s execution has raised, including a last minute petition from a British neurologist who said the use of the controversial new execution drug pentobarbital. The Florida Supreme Court declined to hear the petition filed by the neurologist in a 44-word order you can see here.
In a new turn of events, the head of the Danish drug company that manufactures pentobarbital has written to Florida Governor Rick Scott to protest the use of the drug in Valle’s execution, which would be the first time Florida has used the drug in the lethal injection process. Pentobarbital has been gaining popularity for executions as an alternative to sodium thiopental. Sodium thiopental is only produced by one company in the U.S., Hospira, which has suspended supply of the drug to protest its use in executions. So barring any 11th-hour stays, pentobarbital will be part of the 3-drug cocktail used to execute Valle at 4pm EST.
I won’t be able to blog about the execution until Thursday afternoon or evening most likely, but I’ll be sure to post as soon as I can with details of what I saw and who I talked to, what they had to say, etc. I’ll also be tweeting as much as possible if you want to follow along at @FloridaDeathRow.