Florida Execution Leaves ‘Old Sparky’ Unemployed

By: Mike Fossum - April 24, 2014

Florida executed a man on Wednesday who was convicted of murdering two relatives in 1990, marking the 85th instance of capital punishment for the state, and the fourth so far this year.

Robert Hendrix, 47, was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m. at Florida State Prison in Starke, shortly after a lethal injection procedure began. He remained silent, offering no final words.

Hendrix was convicted of killing his cousin Elmer Scott and his wife Michelle, to prevent them from testifying against him the following day during a burglary trial. Scott had been an accomplice of Hendrix, but reached a plea deal in exchange for his testimony. Hendrix shot, beat and stabbed his cousin, and then cut the throat of Scott’s wife, before shooting her.

Florida was the first state to reintroduce the death penalty after the Supreme Court of the United States struck down all capital punishment statutes nationwide in the 1972 Furman v. Georgia decision. All Floridian executions are carried out at Florida State Prison, which houses the sole remaining death chamber statewide. At present, 396 inmates are awaiting execution in Florida, and sixteen inmates have been administered lethal injections since Governor Rick Scott took office in 2011.

While lethal injection has been the preferred method of execution in Florida since 2000, inmates can still request the use of “Old Sparky,” the nickname of the electric chair in the states of Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New York, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Virginia. Hendrix opted to stay clear of Old Sparky, as botched execution attempts in this manner are not unheard of, and have a chance of becoming an extremely gruesome form of cruel and unusual punishment.

[timeout] [/timeout]

Last June Governor Rick Scott signed the Timely Justice Act of 2013. The statute is designed to accelerate the capital punishment process. The law forces death row inmates to be quicker about making appeals and post-conviction motions.

Image via WIkimedia Commons

About the Author

Mike FossumMike is a writer and videographer based in Lexington, KY. Follow Mike on Twitter and Google+.

View all posts by Mike Fossum
  • bikerbob631

    It is good that there are still 2 States left That give ultimate Punishment for ultimate crime.

  • Slightly Dusty

    Way to go Florida! However, from the he looks of the executions list too many of these offenders have been on death row far too long. We can help reduce the budget by trimming that wait significantly. In my opinion, too long of a wait for the execution is also cruel and unusual punishment. The jury should have justified reasonable doubt at the trial, right? If not, then perhaps an appeal or even two but stringing someone along for twenty years and then deciding to kill them after that seems wrong to me. Does anyone else share that sentiment? How much does it cost to provide for the care and feeding of a death row inmate for a year? Speed it up people! The victims only had a few seconds to reflect on their fate and they deserve the quickest justice that we can give them.

    • Gingee

      I agree. They need to be dead within half an hour of the verdict.

  • larry

    It’s about time

  • Gingee

    Good. He needed to suffer a bit more, but at least he’s no longer alive.

  • Rhonda

    For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not PERISH but have EVERLASTING LIFE. John 3:16

    • Garner

      Rhonda why are you quoting scripture. If this guy doesn’t go straight to hell there’s something wrong with the system.