Authorities: Man executed in Florida with help of drug never used before in a US lethal injection

(AP) – Florida has put a man to death with an anesthetic never used before in a U.S. lethal injection, carrying out its first execution in more than 18 months on an inmate convicted of two racially motivated murders.

Authorities say 53-year-old Mark Asay, the first white man executed in Florida for killing a black man, was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m. Thursday at the state prison in Starke.

His death followed a three-drug injection that began with the anesthetic, etomidate.

Though approved by the Florida Supreme Court, etomidate has been criticized by some as being unproven in an execution.

Etomidate replaced midazolam, which became harder to acquire after many drug companies began refusing to provide it for executions.

Prosecutors say Asay made racist comments in the 1987 fatal shooting of a 34-year-old black man, Robert Lee Booker.

Asay also was convicted of the 1987 murder of 26-year-old Robert McDowell, who was mixed race, white and Hispanic.

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