Florida killer's execution date up in air

Oct. 15, 2012 at 11:01 PM

MIAMI, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- A Florida man convicted of killing eight people won't have his new execution date set until a court stay expires Thursday, corrections officials said Monday.

The state Corrections Department had initially said last week that John Errol Ferguson, 64, would be put to death by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Thursday, following a two-day delay required by the Florida Supreme Court pending last-minute appeals, The Miami Herald reported. But Monday, the Corrections Department clarified that Ferguson's execution date won't be set until after the high court's stay of execution expires Thursday afternoon.

Ferguson is facing the death penalty for the July 1977 murders of six Carol City residents during a home-invasion robbery and for separately killing two teenagers in January 1978.

His attorneys contend he is severely mentally ill and executing him would be "cruel and unusual punishment."

On Oct. 8, the state Supreme Court denied a defense appeal aimed at stopping Ferguson's execution and on Friday a Bradford County circuit judge ruled he is mentally competent to be executed.

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