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Cop killer Manuel Valle, executed and declared dead at 7:14 p.m.

STARKE — A man convicted of shooting and killing a Coral Gables police officer and wounding another one 33 years ago was put to death Wednesday at Florida State Prison.

Manuel Valle, 61, was executed by lethal injection for the murder of Officer Louis Pena, who had pulled Valle over for running a red light in 1978.

He was declared dead at 7:14 p.m.

Valle, strapped to the gurney in the execution chamber, chose not to make a final statement.

He did request a last meal: fried chicken breast, white rice, garlic toast, a Coca-Cola and peach cobbler. He ate most of it. More here.

Earlier in the morning, he visited for three hours with relatives — first for two hours without any physical contact with them, and then for an hour with contact with three people: a niece, a sister and his daughter, Rebecca, who was 2 years old when Valle was arrested.

In the afternoon, Valle met with a lay Catholic chaplain.

"He is very calm," Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said of Valle two hours before the execution.

The execution happened as scheduled. Valle had last-ditch appeals pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, but it did not rule to delay or block the execution before 4 p.m.

As the family of the condemned inmate, Valle's relatives could not witness the execution. But some of Pena's relatives were expected, as were current or former Coral Gables police officers.

A couple of Pena's former Gables colleagues came to the prison Wednesday as a show of solidarity. Among them was Harry S. Pickering, a retired police lieutenant who was working on April 4, 1978, the night Pena was shot and killed.

"I am glad this day is finally here," said Pickering, who described Pena as "a fine man and a superb officer."

Though some protesters had been expected across the street from the prison, as is typical before executions, none had shown up a few hours before it was scheduled to take place.

Valle was the first Florida inmate executed using pentobarbital as part of the lethal injection. The state changed its drug protocol earlier this year to include the sedative, which is intended to knock the inmate unconscious.

Two more drugs paralyze him and then stop his heart.

Florida used to use a different anesthetic, sodium thiopental, in its lethal injections. But the company that made the drug discontinued its production because it did not want the drug used for executions.

The Danish manufacturer of pentobarbital, Lundbeck, has also asked Florida to refrain from using its product in lethal injections.

 -- Patricia Mazzei

Comments

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Juan M. Lleras, Colombia

The death penalty is the most barbarous and terrible violation of Human Rights. If you add that Mr Valle had been waiting for this along 27 years, its an inexplicably cruel punishment. Death penalty is a shame for the USA and every state, like Florida, that practices this brutal and grotesque punishment.

William Tank

Barbaric? Wasn't it barbaric of that WASTE OF LIFE SAVAGE Manuel Valle to murder Louis Pena? The death penalty is GREAT because it rids our Earth of SCUM like VALLE. ANYONE who is/was in support of Manuel Valle is JUST AS LOW AND NO BETTER THAN HE WAS. Take a bow you supported a murderer. Why are you so blind? MANUEL VALLE DESERVED TO DIE. JUSTICE IS BALANCE. IF YOU TAKE A LIFE, YOU SHOULD PAY WITH YOURS. IM GLAD MANUEL VALLE IS DEAD. ANOTHER PIECE OF GARBAGE OFF OUR EARTH. MAY HE BURN IN HELL.

William Tank

Oh and VIOLATION of Human Rights?? NEWS FLASH BLEEDING HEARTS, The moment you murder someone, YOU LOSE ALL OF YOUR RIGHTS, including your right to live. Manuel Valle lost his right to live the moment he pulled the trigger. What about louis Penas right to live?I really can't get over some of you would be ok with a killer killing your loved one and not getting the death penalty. That's right, keep supporting waste of life murderers who destroy families. I bet you think Steven Hayes in CT of the Cheshire home invasions murders is a good choir boy too right? BLEEDING HEARTS MAKE ME SICK.

Lily Bardo

Mr. Tank. All of the hatred and bitterness toward Mr. Valle did not expedite his execution. It only hurt the people who harbored and constantly nurtured that hatred for so many years. Hatred and outrage which are carefully cultivated only harms the individuals who hold on to it, love it, and let it eat away at their beings like a poison. My guess is that Officer Pena was in a far better place where revenge is not needed and may have been sad to see his relatives focus so much of their energy and lives on something so destructive.

Louis Gentry

Mr. Tank got issues...

William Tank

Yeah, Miss/Mrs. Bardo, that's what YOU believe. Louis Pena's daughter even said "we finally got our revenge on that human waste of life." So she feels as I did, not everyone is gonna have your Bleeding Heart sympathy. Logical people like me don't feel bad for worthless animal killers, besides, whether you are for or against the death penalty, it does not change the fact that People like Manuel Valle DESERVE TO DIE. What if it was your dad slain by Valle? When are you BLIND LIBERSLS ever going to understand? You CAN'T forgive murder, its not like breaking a bass or scratching someone's car, IT'S MURDER. MURDERERS ARE ANIMALS who need to be put down. Steven Hayes in CT Raped and burned 3 Women in Cheshire. Are you gonna tell me he deserves to live? NEWS FLASH, to all you who say The DP wont bring the victim back, neither does life in prison. Why should a murderer get fed and clothed and healthcare while his/her victim(s) lie rotting in the ground? If you feel/felt bad for scum like Valle then you need to take a long look in the mirror. The government gave Bin Laden a sped up Death penalty via seal team 6 for his masterminding the murder of 3,000, did u have a problem with that too? Did you feel Osama Bin Laden should have been taken alive? If you did then you are a DISGRACE.

William Tank

WHO CARES if he sat on death row for 33 years? Its his own fault, HE MURDERED SOMEONE and he kept appealing to avoid his rightful punishment. He sat there long due to his own cowardice. I hope he suffered each day awaiting his death. FINALLY, the vermin had no more appeals to hide behind. Instead of feeling bad for murderers, why not start feeling bad for the victims and families torn apart by murder? And MR. GENTRY, you feel I have issues? Well I feel the same way about you for your stance. Touche' you see things your way I see it mine. When your child or loved one is slain let's see how you feel then, I hope it never happens to you but if it does, have fun going to ned every night feeling bad for the killer and knowing he/she is alive and well in jail. Death Penalty unconstitutional? Not a chance, it was very unconstitutional of Valle to murder Pena though.

John Ward

Calm down Mr Tank. You got your way. Now how about some reasoned argument?

May Moseley

Valle will not burn in hell. He has God's forgivenes and I look forawrd to spending my enternity with him in heaven, It is obvious from your vitriolic statements that you did not know him or that you do not love the Lord. I'll pray for you too,

May Moseley

Steve Murphy

I AGREE WITH MR. TANK!!

All you boo hoo liberals that wish everyone would get along trample the rights of the innocent victims. Mr. Tank is exactly right. Mr Valle delayed his fate by filing appeal after appeal. He chose to sit on death row for 33 years. I did not. If I had my way he would not have been on it more than 33 minutes. So before you start talking about Mr. Tanks issues, look at yourself and see who really has issues. I have issues and I know it. My issues are that I am sick and tired of people that wreak havok in our society get away with it because bleeding heart liberals and others that are just plain stupid cry out for the criminal and could not give a damn about the victim and his family. As far as Mr. Pena being in a "better" place, that may well be true, but for his family they are not. They are still hear living and breathing and remembering EVERY day the pain that that piece of crap Mr. Valle brought into their lives. So get off Mr. Tanks nut sack and get some backbone you boo hoo liberals!

C Taunton

What's wrong with the system here is that taxpayers supported a murderer for 33 years- he lived the majority of his life expense-free, and every need he had was paid for- instead of applying the sentence he was given.

Why should my tax dollars be going to pay for the food, shelter, medical care, legal aid & entertainment of a convicted murderer, when those who have committed no crime are on their own and have to deal with the stress of making ends meet?
But if you commit a violent crime, the state will pick up the tab and keep you in comfort the rest of your life, even if they waste years getting the so-called "death penalty". No deterrent to crime there.

Like he wasn't going to die soon anyway? My father passed away in his 60's and he was otherwise healthy. At least he and his family had advance notice of when he was going to die, which almost no one else gets.

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