Florida executed a man convicted of mass murder on Monday night, despite claims by his lawyers that the man was too mentally ill to be put to death.
John Errol Ferguson was convicted of killing eight people in the late 1970s. Despite pleas from his lawyers, the 65-year-old was given a lethal injection and died at 6:17 pm local time.
Ferguson was one of three people convicted of murdering six people in a robbery gone wrong in 1977. The Associated Press notes that Ferguson dressed as a utility worker to get himself and his accomplices inside.
But once they were there, the trio blindfolded the victims, along with friends who dropped by the marijuana dealer house during the robbery. When things got violent, the trio decided to kill all eight people in the house. Two survived the attack.
Ferguson was also convicted of killing a 17-year-old couple in 1978 as they were parked at a lovers’ lane. The killer attempted to rob them while dressed as a police officer. The girl was also raped.
The mass murderer received death sentences for both crimes, but his lawyers tried to appeal them. Attorney Christopner Handman commented on Monday that his client “is insane and incompetent for execution by any measure,” notes Yahoo! News.
The lawyer’s brief argued the man had a history of severe mental illness. It added that the execution would violate the US Constitution’s Eighth Amendment requiring an individual to understand why he is being put to death and what the effect of the death penalty is. But the US Supreme Court disagreed on Monday when they denied Ferguson a stay of execution.
State psychiatrists and other medical professionals have diagnosed the killer as a paranoid schizophrenic. Handman added that Ferguson believed he was the “Prince of God,” and could not be killed. He also believed he would rise up after the execution to fight with Jesus and save America from Communism.
Misty Cash, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections, added that the mass murderer’s last words were, “I just want everyone to know, I am the ‘Prince of God’ and I will rise again.”
Do you believe Ferguson should have been executed by the state of Florida, or was he too mentally ill to be put to death?