About 30 minutes after the execution was scheduled to begin, the Supreme Court of the United States denied review in both of Eric Scott Branch’s cases. There was no dissent.
That was around 6:30. By 7:05, Branch was pronounced dead. According to reports, he didn’t go quietly, shouting “Murderers!” as the drugs began flowing.
With the high court’s refusal to intervene, the Florida Supreme Court’s retroactive application of Hurst remains intact. The line drawn at June 24, 2002, is bright as ever.
Considering that one of Branch’s petitions came from a Hitchcock case, where the FSC churned out 80 cases denying relief to pre-Ring sentences, the implications of SCOTUS’s refusal to intervene in a death warrant situation will likely strengthen the State’s position in the other Hitchcock cases when they go before SCOTUS.
Branch is the third execution carried out on a death sentence based on a non-unanimous jury, and the fourth overall, since Hurst.