Amos King

Are they going to execute another innocent man?


Feb. 14, 2003 - Florida is scheduled to execute Amos King on Feb. 26 despite serious questions about King's guilt, fabricated testimony by a state medical examiner, destroyed evidence by the state and an incompetent lawyer.

King's execution date, originally set for Dec. 2, was previously stayed so that DNA evidence that purportedly linked King to the murder of Natalie Brady could be tested. Results from those tests were inconclusive - neither proving King guilty nor proving him innocent. After the testing was complete, Gov. Jeb Bush said, "In an abundance of caution, I ordered additional testing of evidence in Amos King's case. That testing has been completed and it failed to yield any new evidence."

Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, said Bush should maintain the exact same standard when determining whether King is to die. "In an abundance of caution, we should not be executing a man who may in fact be factually innocent of the crime for which he was convicted," Hawkins said. "Executing someone who is not guilty beyond the shadow of any doubt violates our Constitution, our democratic
values and our decency."

King's conviction and death-sentencing represents the worst nightmare of the death penalty process:

****Evidence against King was circumstantial at best, and no eyewitnesses tied him to a crime scene.

****King's attorney was notoriously inept. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has written that King's trial attorney made "a number of failures" during the guilt-innocence stage of King's trial, and these failures "raise some question as to ineffectiveness."

****A medical examiner who provided key testimony against King at his trial may have been incompetent. In 2002, the St. Petersburg Times wrote that it was unknown if her conduct in one case had been simply "inept or disturbingly conspiratorial in [her] zeal" to facilitate a conviction and asked, "how many other autopsies did [she] botch?"

****The state has acknowledged destroying one of the most critical pieces of evidence in the case - vaginal washings infused with semen - that if subjected to modern-day DNA testing could have established once and for all King's innocence or guilt.

Hawkins demanded that Bush commute King's sentence to life. "If Gov. Bush fails to act, he risks much more than the life of Amos King," he said. "He risks demeaning the concept of justice itself. Justice must be sure and certain. When it is not, then justice must be merciful. In an abundance of caution, the life of
Amos King must be spared."


The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty was founded in 1976 and is the only fully-staffed national organization devoted specifically to abolishing the death penalty. NCADP is comprised of more than 100 local, state, national and international affiliates.


Amos King was executed by the State of Florida on 12/26/2003

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