Tonight's Lethal Injection in Florida an Act of "Cold-Blooded Murder," Defendant Says

Michael Lambrix, 57, was found guilty of murdering a man and his girlfriend after a night of partying, but his defense attorney is arguing that the execution doesn't fit with the state's new sentencing system.

By Emma Kerr

The life of a Florida man convicted of killing two people will be decided by a last-ditch appeal today, ahead of his scheduled death by lethal injection tonight.

Michael Lambrix, 57, was found guilty of murdering a man and his girlfriend after a night of partying. Lambrix claimed one of the victims killed the other and his actions were merely self defense, but in two trials, juries voted 8-4 and 10-2 for death.  

Clarence Moore and Aleisha Bryant were killed in southern Florida after going to the trailer Lambrix shared with roommate Frances Smith, prosecutors said. Smith testified against Lambrix during his trial, saying Lambrix asked each woman individually to go outside with him, then returned to the trailer covered in blood.

Lambrix’s execution is the state’s second since restarting executions in August, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Florida’s execution system was unconstitutional in January 2016. A new sentencing system has since been put into place, but it only applies to cases after 2002 — leaving Lambrix’s 1983 case under the old system.

“This Court should consider whether executing Lambrix when a jury did not unanimously recommend a death sentence and Florida law no longer permits a death sentence to be imposed unless the jury unanimously consents constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment,” Lambrix’s lawyer, William Hennis, wrote to the U.S. Supreme Court in his most recent appeal.

“It won't be an execution,” Lambrix said Tuesday.“It's going to be an act of cold-blooded murder.”

Lambrix’s execution was scheduled for 2016, but was put on hold after the Supreme Court’s ruling, which stated jurors were not given adequate authority over death sentences. Florida’s Supreme Court has already said it believes Lambrix has had enough opportunity to appeal his case.

““It is clear that Lambrix has not been denied the opportunity to claim any constitutional right, nor has any right been denied to him without full consideration and review,” the court wrote. “To the contrary, for more than thirty years, Lambrix's multiple claims have been reviewed and rejected. Thus, we conclude that Lambrix is not entitled to relief.”

[Photo: Florida Department of Corrections]


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