By Toluse Olorunnipa, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
At least one Florida lawmaker wants to test the limits of cruel and unusual punishment with what he calls a “lead cocktail.”
Rep. Brad Drake, a Republican from the Panhandle town of Eucheeanna, has filed legislation to introduce firing squads to Florida’s death row.
The idea, Drake said, grew out of a recent controversy surrounding the state’s new lethal injection practice. Last month, Manuel Valle was executed with a cocktail of drugs never before used in a Florida execution. The drug pentobarbital knocks inmates unconscious before a second drug paralyzes them and a third stops the heart.
Several activists and medical professionals, including pentobarbital’s maker, protested its use prior to Valle’s execution, arguing that the drug fails to adequately sedate inmates.
Drake said he was tired of all the talk about how to properly execute someone on death row, so he had an idea — get rid of lethal injection and let inmates choose between the electric chair or a firing squad.
He drafted the bill after overhearing lunchtime chatter at a Waffle House in support of execution by firing squad.
“I say let’s end the debate. We still have ‘Old Sparky.’ And if that doesn’t suit the criminal, then we will provide them a .45-caliber lead cocktail instead,” said Drake, a marketing executive who was first elected to the House in 2008.