Florida has executed Eric Scott Branch, a 47-year-old man who in 1993 raped and killed a college student and then stole her car. Branch’s victim, Susan Morris, was 23 at the time. Her naked body was found buried in a shallow grave. Branch was sentenced to death penalty a year later.
The Florida Supreme Court noted that the crime was brutal, and the justices denied the killer’s appeals.
“She had been beaten, stomped, sexually assaulted and strangled. She bore numerous bruises and lacerations, both eyes were swollen shut.”
The rape and killing of Susan Morris wasn’t Branch’s first crime. Just 10 days before slaying the college student, he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl in Indiana and another woman in Panama City. For a last meal, Eric Scott Branch had a pork chop, T-bone steak, French fries, and ice cream. According to the Washington Post, Branch’s last visitor was his daughter. He refused meeting with a spiritual adviser.
Eric Scott Branch was put to death by lethal injection at 6 p.m. today at Florida State Prison. This was confirmed by the Associated Press.
The jury in the case of Eric Scott Branch recommended the death penalty by a 10-2 vote. This was under the now unconstitutional Florida capital punishment system. The southern state’s punishment system was ruled unconstitutional back in 2016. Branch’s defense’s final appeal to the U.S. supreme court was rejected. The killer and rapist was convicted in 1994, so the new system of sentencing did not apply to him, as it does not apply to inmates sentenced to death penalty before 2002.
According to deathpenaltyinfo.org, most American states used a combination of three drugs for lethal injections: an anesthetic, potassium chloride, and pancuronium bromide. Potassium chloride is used to stop the heart from beating, and pancuronium bromide is a paralytic agent.
Eric Scott Branch’s execution has, yet again, sparked an old debate. Should the death penalty be abolished worldwide? In 2011, BBC laid out the arguments for and against capital punishment. Death penalty advocates argue that the punishment should fit the crime — if you have killed someone, you should be killed too. When it comes to arguments against the death penalty, critics claim that capital punishment is against the most basic human right, the right to live.