Florida executes triple killer Thomas Knight

Jan. 7, 2014 at 8:37 PM
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STARKE, Fla., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Thomas Knight, convicted of murdering a prison guard and a Miami-area couple, was put to death in Florida Tuesday night, officials said.

Thomas, 62, previously known as Askari Abdullah Muhammad, offered up no last words before his execution by lethal injection at 6:45 p.m. EST end his nearly 40-year stay on Florida's death row, the Miami Herald reported

The newspaper said Knight ate sweet potato pie, coconut cake, banana nut bread, vanilla ice cream, strawberry-and-butter pecan ice cream and Fritos corn chips, along with Sprite soda, on his last day.

He visited with an unidentified friend Tuesday. He had met with four of his sisters on Monday.

Knight kidnapped and murdered Sydney and Lillian Gans of Bay Harbor Islands on July 17, 1974.

He and 10 other inmates escaped from the Dade County jail that September and authorities suspect a month later he and another man fatally shot a liquor store clerk in Georgia. Knight, who wasn't charged in that slaying, was captured in December and was convicted in the couple's deaths in 1976.

While awaiting his execution at the Florida State Prison in Starke, Knight stabbed corrections officer Richard Burke to death with a sharpened spoon in October 1980. He was convicted in Burke's death in 1983 and given another death sentence.

Knight's sentence in the Gans case was thrown out in 1996, but he was sentenced to death again the same year. His sentence was again reversed by a federal judge in 2012 but an appellate court reinstated it in 2013.

Gov. Rick Scott signed a death warrant for Knight last October for Burke's murder and that is the crime for which Knight was executed Tuesday.

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