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Fla. man executed for rape-murder

A man was executed Wednesday evening in Florida for the 1985 murder of a woman who was raped and shot in a cemetery.
/ Source: The Associated Press

After a short delay caused by the Supreme Court, a man was executed Wednesday evening for the 1985 murder of a woman who was raped and shot in a cemetery.

Johnny L. Robinson, 51, was condemned for the slaying of Beverly St. George, whose car had broken down in St. Johns County in northeastern Florida.

He was originally scheduled to die by injection at 6 p.m. at Florida State Prison, but 15 minutes before the process was to begin the Supreme Court asked the state “to wait for further word.”

Shortly after 7 p.m. the court refused on a 5-4 vote to stop the execution, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general said.

During the appeals process, court after court rejected issues raised by Robinson’s lawyers, including that his sentence was the result of racism against blacks, that a co-defendant had recanted testimony against him, and that Florida’s method of execution represents cruel and unusual punishment.

Florida uses pancuronium bromide in the mix of its lethal injection chemicals. Opponents say the drug can cause prisoners to suffocate before they lose consciousness and is so cruel some states ban its use on animals.

St. George, 31, of Plant City, was driving to Virginia when her car broke done on I-95. She was abducted at gunpoint by Robinson and an accomplice and taken to the cemetery, where she was raped by both men and shot twice in the head.

Robinson said the woman had agreed to go to the cemetery. Five days after the murder, Robinson was arrested for robbing four people in a disabled car and raping one of them. He was on parole for a Maryland rape at the time.

The accomplice, who testified against Robinson, is serving a life sentence.