Florida executed a man Thursday night who had been convicted of killing three women, carrying out the lethal injection after the U.S. Supreme Court denied requests to get involved.
This execution is the first this year in the United States, and it follows a year that saw the country execute fewer inmates than it had in nearly a quarter-century.
Oscar Bolin Jr., 53, had been convicted of killing three women and sentenced to death for two of these killings.
He was executed Thursday for the death of Teri Lynn Matthews, a woman found wrapped in a sheet and with multiple head injuries, according to a summary of the case from the Florida Supreme Court.
Bolin’s half-brother and ex-wife testified against him. He was sentenced to death a total of three times for Matthews’s death, because the first two convictions were reversed, court documents show.
He was also convicted of killing two other women. Bolin was convicted and sentenced to death for killing Stephanie Collins as well as being convicted and sentenced to death for killing Natalie Holley. His sentence in Holley’s death was reversed and he was later convicted of second-degree murder in that case. All three women were killed in 1986.
Bolin’s case drew increased attention because while he was imprisoned, he met and married a woman who was working in the public defender’s office. She left her husband, an attorney, to marry Bolin.
His execution Thursday was scheduled for 6 p.m., but state officials said it was delayed while they waited for word from the Supreme Court about appeals filed earlier in the day.
Shortly after 9:40 p.m., the stay requests were rejected without explanation by the justices. No dissents were publicly reported by the court. Bolin’s death sentence was carried out at 10:16 p.m., the Florida Department of Corrections said.
Florida is one of the country’s most active death penalty states. Since the death penalty was reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976, it has executed more inmates than all but three states (Texas, Oklahoma and Virginia). It is also one of only three states to have executed at least one inmate in each of the last six years, along with Texas and Oklahoma.
Last year, though, the state carried out two executions, its fewest in four years. For several months, Florida’s death penalty was on hold due to a Supreme Court case challenging the lethal-injection procedure used by Oklahoma. Both states use essentially the same procedure, which involves a sedative that has been used in three executions that went awry recently.
Oklahoma, meanwhile, called off its next scheduled execution at the last minute when officials found they had gotten the wrong drug, and they later postponed all executions there after learning they had used the incorrect lethal injection drug in an execution last year.