The state plans to execute the first Death Row prisoner in more than 19 months Thursday.
Mark Asay, now 53, has spent nearly three decades on Death Row after being convicted in the 1987 shooting deaths of two black men in Jacksonville. The courts determined the killings to be racially motivated.
Gov. Rick Scott initially signed a death warrant for Asay in January 2016.
Just days after, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Florida’s practice of allowing judges to have the final say in death sentences was unconstitutional. The Legislature tried to redress the issues raised by this decision, but the state Supreme Court ruled the new process unconstitutional again, on the basis that Florida allowed non-unanimous juries to send someone to Death Row.
Only unanimous juries have that power, ruled the court, not a simple majority or even 10 of 12 jurors.
The Florida Legislature passed new sentencing rules in 2017, bringing back the death penalty.
On Wednesday, prayer vigils for the victims, their families and the convicted will be held throughout South Florida, according to Joan Crown with the Archdiocese of Miami.
Asay will be put to death at the Florida State Prison.