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Crist said he is ready for his first execution

Gov. Charlie Crist said he will be in his office Tuesday night when the execution of child killer Mark Dean Schwab takes place at Florida State Prison in Starke. "I'm hopeful that it goes well -- what I mean by that is that it goes without any difficulties in terms of interruptions,'' he said.

"This is one of the most solemn things you do as a governor,'' Crist said. "I believe in the death penalty, obviously, or I wouldn't sign the warrant. I think it will work well. Justice will be done.''

The governor acknowledge that while the state has been slow to follow through with executions, the number of inmates on death row is growing. He said he is ready to work toward trying to accelerate the pace.

"There is an old adage in law that justice delayed is justice denied,'' he said. "And I believe in that and I'm very sympathetic to the families members of those who've had members of their families taken from them, murdered...I'm in favor of a better carrying out justice if you will than we see today. I want to make sure though that every opportunity is given for justice on both sides of the equation.''

Mark Elliot of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty said in a statement that the cost of carrying out that justice is more expensive than housing an inmate for life.

"While Floridians spend an estimated $51 million a year on our mistake-ridden Death Penalty system (that's over and above the cost of permanent imprisonment), victim's services are being cut-back, crime prevention programs are being disbanded and thousands of murders and violent crimes remain unsolved," he said.

He said the organization has sympathy for the family of Schwab's victim, Junny Rios-Martinez, but added that their wait for the execution has been justice denied. "There are some crimes so heinous that there is no earthly punishment that fits the crime,'' he said. "A sentence of life without the possibility for parole is carried out immediately, with no wait for justice." 

   

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