Florida executes man for rape, murder of 11-year-old girl - FOX 13 News

Florida executes man for rape, murder of 11-year-old girl

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  • Polk Sheriff Grady Judd witnesses Davis execution

    Polk Sheriff Grady Judd witnesses Davis execution

    Thursday, July 10 2014 11:34 PM EDT2014-07-11 03:34:08 GMT
    In 1994, current Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd was a major, overseeing detectives, but not directly involved with the investigation into the horrific rape and murder of 11-year-old girl Kimberly Waters of Lakeland. This is the story of how he got the killer to confess, how the crime shaped the rest of his career, and the woman who can't thank him enough for his role in the case.


    In 1994, current Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd was a major, overseeing detectives, but not directly involved with the investigation into the horrific rape and murder of 11-year-old girl Kimberly Waters of Lakeland. This is the story of how he got the killer to confess, how the crime shaped the rest of his career, and the woman who can't thank him enough for his role in the case.



STARKE, Fla. (AP) -

Florida prison officials on Thursday executed a man convicted of the 1994 rape and slaying of an 11-year-old girl. It was the state's sixth execution this year.

Eddie Wayne Davis was executed by injection at Florida State Prison at 6:43 p.m.

Davis, draped in a white sheet and strapped to a table with his hands covered in white material, declined to say any final words before his sentence was carried out.

Executioners put the IV needle into Davis' left arm around 6:30 p.m. Davis began muttering to himself after the process began -- prison officials said he was saying prayers -- but witnesses in the viewing area couldn't hear what he was saying because the speakers had been turned off.

Davis' chest heaved up and down for about five minutes and his eyes fluttered before he went motionless. There did not appear to be any outward signs of pain.

Victim was kidnapped, beaten and suffocated

Davis, 45, was convicted in 1995 of first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual battery in the slaying of Kimberly Waters, the daughter of a woman Davis had dated briefly.

Davis broke into his ex-girlfriend's trailer in the central Florida community of Lakeland seeking beer money, according to court documents. Prosecutors say he found Waters sleeping, and that he woke the girl and took her to an abandoned trailer in a neighboring park and raped her.

After the rape, Davis took Waters to a nearby Moose Lodge, where he beat her and suffocated her with a piece of plastic before dumping her body in a trash can.

Waters' grandmother, Mary Hobbs, came to the prison but stayed outside during the execution.

"I don't need to see it. I just need to know it's done," she said. "It's an absolute relief ... to know it's over and justice has been served. It's been a long time coming."

Executions under scrutiny

Davis' execution was the second in Florida since the lethal injection process came under fresh scrutiny in April when Oklahoma prison officials stopped the execution of Clayton Lockett. They halted it after noticing the deadly drug mixture was not being administered into his vein properly.

Lockett died minutes later of a heart attack.

Florida uses a three-drug mixture to execute prisoners: midazolam hydrochloride, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride.

The drugs are administered intravenously, and are intended to first induce unconsciousness, then paralysis and finally cardiac arrest. Midazolam, a sedative used commonly in surgery, has been part of the three-drug mixture since 2013. Sodium thiopental was used before that, but its U.S. manufacturer stopped making it and Europe banned its manufacturers from exporting it for executions.

Vigils and protests across the state

The capital punishment debate flared up in several cities throughout the state in the hours leading up to Davis' execution.

Dozens gathered at vigils and protests from Ft. Walton Beach to Holiday in Pasco County.

"We're meeting here to pray," Joan Milloy said. "Pray for the end of the use of the death penalty, the salvation of the person being executed and for the family of the victim."

Milloy and several others gathered at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Holiday to pray for Davis and the family of Waters.

"Life is a gift of God and it's very precious and it shouldn't be for one human being to take another human beings life," Milloy said.

Davis was the seventh inmate executed, so far, this year, and the 88th since 1979.

It was the 19th execution since Governor Rick Scott took office. Compared to his predecessors, Charlie Christ oversaw five during his one term, and Jeb Bush eleven during his first term. Bush oversaw 21 total while governor.

Last-ditch appeal rejected

Davis made a last-ditch appeal to have his execution delayed, arguing to the U.S. Supreme Court that he had a health condition that made injection of the drugs incredibly painful, which violated the Eight Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. But the court rejected the argument, and allowed the execution to proceed.

Waters' mother Beverly Schultz died in a motorcycle crash in 2004, but four of the girl's aunts and uncles attended the execution.

Fighting through tears afterward, Kimberly's uncle Tom Briner said the family had waited a long time for this day.

"Twenty years, four months and six days and we finally have justice," he said.

--With additional reporting by Michael Shingleton/FOX 13 News


 

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