STARKE, Fla. -- Nollie Lee Martin was executed in Florida's electric chair Tuesday for the 1977 rape and stabbing murder of a 19- year-old convenience store clerk.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a round of last-minute appeals questioning Martin's sanity and his final stay expired at 7 a.m. EDT.
'I don't think it's right to keep someone locked up for 15 years and then kill them,' Martin told witnesses in a lengthy and barely audible last statement.
He was strapped into the three-legged oak chair at the Florida State Prison, and the 2,000-volt current was applied for about 55 seconds. A prison doctor pronounced him dead at 7:13 a.m.
Martin, 43, was condemned for the June 26, 1977, abduction, rape and stabbing murder of Patricia Greenfield, a Washington University student who worked nights at the Delray Beach store.
Court records indicate Martin and an accomplice, Gary Forbes, abducted Greenfield at knifepoint while robbing the store of $90 and two cases of beer. The pair sexually assaulted her at Martin's apartment, then drove her to a remote dump.
Forbes testified that Martin led Greenfield away, then returned alone, saying that he had stabbed her in the throat after she resisted his efforts to strangle her.
Martin was also convicted of two counts of second-degree murder in North Carolina, where he set an apartment fire that killed a High Point woman and her two daughters in 1972.
Martin was offered a last meal of steak, fried eggs, baked potato, tossed salad and strawberry cheesecake shortly after midnight.
'He ate very little,' said prison spokesman Gene Morris.
Martin spent his final hours with his brother, Harry Lee Martin, who is handling funeral arrangements, and also met with his sister-in-law, a prison chaplain, a psychologist and an investigator.
'Every time I've asked, he's been quiet. He has been reading, watching television and chain-smoking cigarettes,' Morris said.
Martin was the 28th man executed in Florida since the death penalty was reinstated in 1979.
Attorney Richard Burr, a volunteer with the NAACP, had argued that Martin should be spared from the electric chair because he is mentally incompetent. As evidence, he offered a prison videotape in which Martin rambled incoherently and picked at his forehead until it bled.
He also offered a letter written to Gov. Lawton Chiles by the prosecutor in the case, Al Scarola.
Burr argued that Sacrola changed his mind about Martin's mental competency, but a Miami federal judge ruled that the latest appeals merely rehashed issues that had been settled during prior appeals.
A federal appeals court granted a temporary stay Monday, but the U.S. Supreme Court denied a round of last-minute appeals Monday night.