Supreme Court Justice Delays Scheduled Double Execution
STARKE, Fla. (AP) _ Two murderers got a temporary stay of their double execution from the U.S. Supreme Court hours before it was scheduled to occur this morning.
The executions of Kenneth Wayne Hardwick, 37, and Allen ″Tiny″ Davis, 42, were to be the first double execution in Florida since 1964.
Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell granted the stays at 11:05 p.m. Monday, and directed that they last until 3 p.m. today.
Richard Dugger, the superintendent of Florida State Prison, today rescheduled the executions for 7 a.m. Wednesday. The death warrants for both men expire at noon Wednesday, said Linda Shelley, governor’s legal counsel.
Appeals were filed at the last minute in state and federal courts Monday for both Hardwick and Davis. Attorneys for the inmates failed to win stays of execution from the Florida Supreme Court on Monday and again today.
Attorneys for the men must now appeal to federal courts in Jacksonville and Miami.
Davis was condemned to die for beating a pregnant woman to death and killing her two young daughters on May 11, 1982. Hardwick was sentenced to death for the 1980 Christmas Eve slaying of a 72-year-old widow.
Prison spokesman Vernon Bradford said the electric chair at Florida State Prison near Starke already has been tested and prison officials made sure it would accommodate Davis, who weighs 350 pounds.
″He’ll fit it. We looked at that already,″ Bradford said.
According to prosecutors, Davis tied up 9-year-old Kristina Weiler, then shot her in the head as she knelt by her mother’s bed. He shot 5-year-old Katherine Weiler as she tried to flee and beat Nancy Weiler, 37, at least 25 times with a .357 revolver, authorities said.
In the other case, trial testimony showed that Hardwick worked as a house painter for the victim, 72-year-old Quincy Henshall of Sebring. The widow’s body was discovered by family members on Christmas after she failed to show up for dinner.
Mrs. Henshall had been raped, strangled and beaten. Her purse, jewelry and car were missing.