Florida executes a white man for killing a black victim for first time in its history

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A white supremacist has become the first man to be executed in Florida over the death of a black victim.

Mark Asay shot and killed Robert Lee Booker, a black man, and Robert McDowell, white-Hispanic man, in Jacksonville in 1997.

The killer hired McDowell, who was dressed as a woman, for sex but shot him when his gender was revealed, prosecutors said.

Asay is also believed to have made racist remarks before the killing.

Controversial topic: Demonstrators protest outside Florida State Prison (REUTERS)

According to the Death Penalty Information Centre, the 53-year-old, who was killed by lethal injection around 10.20pm (GMT) on Thursday was the first white man to undergo a state execution over the death of a black victim.

Since Florida reintroduced the death penalty in 1976, 20 black men have been executed for killing white people, The BBC reported.

Death sentence: The execution took place at Florida State Prison (REUTERS)

Asay, who admitted killing McDowell but denied the second murder, was also the first person to be executed using a new cocktail of drugs.

He was injected with etomidate, an anaesthetic, which will replace midazolam, which has been abandoned over fears that it was causing unnecessary suffering.

In an interview with a local television station, Asay had said he did not want to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Demo: Protesters march on Florida State Prison (REUTERS)

He told News4Jax: “I pray, and I say, ‘I’ve had all of the prison I want.”

Images emerged of protesters holding placards outside the Florida State Prison where the execution took place. 

Asay’s death marked the state’s first execution in 18 months after the high court ruled a jury must reach a unanimous guilty verdict for a death sentence to be recommended to the court.

The legislation was charged after Asay was convicted.

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