FLORIDA (USA): 45-YEAR-OLD INMATE EXECUTED FOR 1984 SLAYING
February 16, 2010: Martin Grossman was executed at the Florida state prison in Starke.
Grossman, 45, white, was Jewish. He was sentenced to death for murdering Peggy Park, a Florida wildlife officer Park, on Dec. 13, 1984, as she patrolled a wooded area.
"I would like to extend my heartfelt remorse to the victim's family," Grossman said. "I fully regret everything that happened that night, everything that was done, whether I remember everything or not. I accept responsibility." "I would like to say a prayer," he added, and began reciting a prayer called the Schma. It is the most sacred prayer in Judaism and the first prayer that Jewish children learn.Â
The Vatican, Jewish leaders as far away as Israel, and thousands of petitioners called for a stop to the execution on several grounds, including questions about whether the slaying was premeditated, Grossman's diminished IQ and his remorse for the crime. Last-minute efforts to spare Grossman's life extended to the Vatican, which sent a letter to Gov. Charlie Crist saying "the prisoner has repented and is now a changed person." The letter was sent in response to a request from Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen, chief Rabbi of Haifa, Israel.
Gov. Crist signed Grossman's death warrant Jan. 12. Since that time, his office has received about 49,000 letters, telephone calls or e-mails, according to a spokesman.
Grossman becomes the 1st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Florida, and the 69th person executed since the death penalty was reinstated there in 1979. Grossman becomes the 7th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1195th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977. (Sources: Tampa Tribune & Rick Halperin, 16/02/2010)