Crist Gives Reporters Access to Gov Role Executions
Tallahassee, (AP) - Gov. Charlie Crist silently held two
framed photos of Adela Marie Simmons as a voice came over his
speaker phone Wednesday evening, telling him the next in a series
of eight syringes was being injected into the arm of the man who
Crist's office was silent except the whir of the air conditioner
as his chief of staff and three members of his legal team sat and
listened with him for each update in the execution of John Richard
Marek. After the last syringe was injected, the voice said, "Team
leaders have a flatline" and a few seconds later, "The doctor has
confirmed he is deceased. Time of death 6:33."
"Thank you, warden," Crist said before hanging up the phone
and sitting silently for a few moments at his desk, where he had
several photos of Simmons. "She was a beautiful lady."
Carrying out an execution is one of the most serious
responsibilities a governor has, and Crist allowed The Associated
Press to observe him during the last 48 minutes of Marek's life.
At 5:45, 15 minutes before the execution was set to begin, Crist
sat at his desk, a stone statue of Jesus with arms outstretched
facing him as he reviewed a binder containing the execution
procedures. Across the room, Andrew Atkinson was on the phone with
Attorney General Bill McCollum and through an open door to an
adjacent office Rick Figlio was on the phone with the Supreme
Court. Chief of staff Eric Eikenberg sat nearby.
Crist's top lawyer, Rob Wheeler, arrived and told Crist that
McCollum's office was sending faxes confirming Marek's three final
appeals had been denied. After Crist reviewed them, Wheeler
contacted Florida State Prison, where one visiting warden carried
out the sentence and another gave Crist every detail.
"The governor has received the denials and has asked you to
proceed," Wheeler said.
Crist and his team maintained serious expressions and said
nothing as Warden Barry Reddish described each step.
"The cell door is now being opened," Reddish said. "The
inmate has been placed on the gurney."
At 5:54, Reddish said, "The inmate has remained calm through
the entire process." He then described restraints being placed on
Marek and tourniquets on his arms. "The inmate continues to remain
calm. He has not offered any physical resistance to the team."
Crist heard that an EKG had been placed on Marek and was
working. "Thank you," he said. At 6:01 p.m., he was told IVs were
being inserted into Marek's arms. As the procedure continued, Crist
briefly got up, walked to a window and stared at the courtyard
outside where additional security had been placed for the
execution. He sat back down seconds later.
The updates continued:
- 6:05, "The needle has been inserted into the inmate's left
- 6:06, "The inmate continues to remain calm."
- 6:09, "The needle has now been inserted in the inmate's right
- 6:11, "The sheet that covers the inmate is now being placed
At that point Crist picked up photos of Simmons, who was
kidnapped and raped after her car broke down on the side of a
highway in 1983. He still said nothing as Reddish told him Marek
planned to have a one-line statement before the execution.
"Something to the effect of 'Jesus remember us,' or something
similar to that."
At 6:19, the medical team signed the final paperwork that the
lethal injections could begin. Crist asked if McCollum was
reporting any last minute stays. Atkinson told him no. "Is there
anything from the Supreme Court?" Crist asked. Again, the answer
"You may carry out the sentence," Crist said.
At 6:21, Reddish said Marek mumbled something, but he couldn't
hear what. The injections began. Crist was updated at the start and
finish of all eight. Atkinson relayed the details to McCollum. One
minute later Reddish said Marek appeared unconscious. At 6:24,
three injections were complete and doctors checked to make sure
Marek was unconscious. Twelve minutes later, the execution was
"This is a difficult thing to do. It's a very solemn, serious
act," Crist said in a soft voice when he finally rose from his
chair. "Somebody was just put to death, but what goes through my
mind is what the victim had to go through and this is a horrific,
heinous crime and justice must be done. And now it has been."
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