MIAMI (CBS4) – The courts have cleared the way for the state of Florida to execute a man who has outlived for more than three decades a death sentence for a killing a Coral Gables police officer.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled Wednesday that Florida can execute Manuel Valle, who had been scheduled to die earlier this week. It was not immediately known when Valle will be executed, but it could be within days.

Valle had argued that the new drugs Florida plans to use for lethal injections constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

Valle claimed the drug pentobarbital was unproven, and could possibly cause him pain during execution. The state investigated, held hearings, and ultimately convinced the Florida Supreme Court to approve the use of the drug.

Valle was convicted of fatally shooting Coral Gables officer Louis Pena in 1978 after a traffic stop. Various appeals and delays have kept him on Death Row until earlier this year, when Gov. Rick Scott announced he would carry out the death warrant, making Valle the first person executed during his term.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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