(Eric Scott Branch - Florida Department of Law Enforcement)
47-year-old Eric Scott Branch, convicted of raping and killing a college student years ago, screamed "murderers!" three times and thrashed around on a gurney during his execution this week.
Branch was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m. last night after getting a lethal injection at Florida State Prison. He was convicted of the 1993 rape and fatal beating of 21-year-old Susan Morris, who was a student at the University of West Florida.
Morris' body was found naked and buried in a shallow grave near a hiking trail. At the execution, as officials were administering the lethal drugs, Branch shouted out:
"Murderers! Murderers! Murderers!"
He then made a guttural groan and went silent. Just before the execution, Branch told officers in the room that instead of them doing it, it should be done by Florida Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi.
"Let them come down here and do it. I've learned that you're good people and this is not what you should be doing."
The Morris family put out the following statement after the execution:
"Twenty-five years ago, Susan's life was suddenly and brutally extinguished. We have grieved for her longer that she was with us. Yet because of who she was ... she will never be forgotten by those who love her."
Of course outside of the prison there were anti-death penalty protesters, claiming that the practice kills innocent people. But the brutality of Branch's crime needs to be noted, according to the Florida Supreme Court:
"She had been beaten, stomped, sexually assaulted and strangled. She bore numerous bruises and lacerations, both eyes were swollen shut."
Branch was also convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Indiana and another sexual assault in Panama City, Florida just 10 days before the attack on Morris.
This was a bad guy.