Following a slew of conflicting court rulings, a federal appeals court has blocked the scheduled execution of a mass killer convicted of eight killings that jolted South Florida in the 1970s. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the stay.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision Tuesday came during a flurry of legal decisions over claims that 64-year-old John Errol Ferguson suffers from mental illness so severe he cannot be executed. Ferguson, a paranoid schizophrenic with delusions he's the "prince of God," had faced a planned lethal injection at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Florida's death chamber.
The Supreme Court rejected an earlier Ferguson emergency appeal Tuesday – as did the 11th Circuit – but the high court would not agree to the state of Florida's request to overturn the later ruling. The appeals court set a schedule for motions that will likely delay the execution at least until the first week of November, if not longer.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's office argued in court papers that the late ruling "makes a mockery of the state's compelling interest in finality" in Ferguson's case. He has been on death row for 34 years.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
John Errol Ferguson's execution stayed
He was set to be executed last night at 6pm, but the 11th Circuit stayed the execution at 8pm (?!!?) and the Supreme Court upheld the stay. It's been a roller coaster though for the last few days. From the AP: