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Florida Supreme Court Denies Stay In Tuesday Execution

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Execution gurney in Starke, Fla.

Execution gurney in Starke, Fla.

South Florida Crime

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — The Florida Supreme Court on Monday denied a stay in the execution of convicted murderer Askari Abdullah Muhammad, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday at Florida State Prison.

Muhammad, who was formerly known as Thomas Knight, is slated to be put to death for fatally stabbing corrections Officer Richard James Burke with a sharpened spoon in October 1980, while Muhammad, now 62, was already on Death Row.

As part of her argument for the stay, Muhammad’s attorney Linda McDermott contended that the state had repeatedly denied her client’s right to due process by allegedly withholding evidence that could have shown Muhammad’s actions against Burke weren’t premeditated.

Muhammad was initially convicted of kidnapping and killing Sydney and Lillian Gans in 1974.

Gov. Rick Scott rescheduled the execution, initially planned for Dec. 3, because of a challenge to the state’s new three-drug cocktail used to execute Death Row inmates.

The court ruled Dec. 19 that the new ingredient in the cocktail does not violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”

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