Mass Murderer Requests Death By Firing Squad
A US mass murderer has requested death by firing squad should his execution come to pass.
Zane Michael Floyd, 45, was convicted of killing four people and injuring another in a Las Vegas supermarket in 1999, after shooting them with a shotgun.
Last November, Floyd exhausted his federal appeals and the Supreme Court declined to hear his case. While his lawyers say he doesn’t want to die, and he’ll seek clemency at a June 22 meeting of the Nevada State Pardons Board, he’s asked for a firing squad instead of lethal injection.
The killer’s attorneys argue it would be ‘cruel and unusual punishment in violation of his constitutional rights’ – the same words associated with other prohibited forms of capital punishment, such as the electric chair and hanging.
Floyd’s request for a firing squad is highly unusual; across the US, it’s permitted only in Mississippi, Oklahoma and Utah and hasn’t been employed as an execution method since 2010. Nevada previously allowed it, but law now requires the use of lethal injection.
Amid accusations his legal challenges are a bid to put off his death, attorney Brad Levenson said: ‘This is not a delaying tactic.’
The request came due to the defence being required to propose an alternative method of execution if challenging the state’s protocol. Levenson said being shot in the head would be ‘the most humane way’ of dying. ‘Execution by firing squad… causes a faster and less painful death than lethal injection,’ he said, as per the court filing.
The lawyers have requested his death be postponed until prison officials ‘devise a new procedure or procedures to carry out a lawful execution’.
Prosecutors are aiming to call for Floyd’s execution warrant in May, forecasting an execution in the week beginning June 7. If it goes ahead, it would be the first time a prisoner has been put to death in Nevada since 2006.
The state, one of 27 that still allows the death penalty, is currently hosting 65 people on death row, with clemency granted to a single prisoner in 1976.
The Nevada Assembly recently voted in favour of a bill that would abolish the death penalty and reduce death sentences to life in prison without parole. However, it’s unclear whether it’ll be signed into law until it reaches the Nevada Senate.
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