Florida killer put to death in first US execution of year

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Convicted Murderer To Be First Executed This Year In Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Jan 7 (Reuters) - A former carnival worker convicted of killing three women in Florida was executed on Thursday after multiple overturned convictions and retrials, the first U.S. execution of 2016.

Oscar Ray Bolin Jr., 53, was pronounced dead from lethal injection at 10:16 p.m. EST at the Florida State Prison in Starke, 11 minutes after the procedure began, Department of Corrections spokesman McKinley Lewis said.

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Bolin declined to make a final statement, Lewis said. The U.S. Supreme Court denied last-minute motions to stay the execution.

Governor Rick Scott signed Bolin's death warrant in October for the murder of bank worker Teri Lynn Matthews, 26. She was abducted from a Land O' Lakes post office in December 1986, then raped, beaten and stabbed to death.

Bolin was also found guilty in the Tampa-area slayings of Natalie Blanche Holley, 25, and Stephanie Collins, 17, earlier that year.

Notable death penalty cases:

Notable death penalty executions and people on death row
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Florida killer put to death in first US execution of year

Willie Francis, the first known incident of failed execution by lethal injection, was executed on May 9, 1947. He was sentenced to death for the murder of his former boss, Andrew Thomas. 

(AP Photo/File)

John Wayne Gacy, a rapist and serial killer responsible for the sexual assaults and murders of at least 33 men, was executed in Illinois on May 10, 1994. 

(AP Photo/File)

Ted Bundy, a kidnapper, rapist, and serial killer responsible for the assaults and murders of dozens of young women, was executed in in Florida on January 24, 1989. His actual victim count remains unknown.

(AP Photo/File)

Aileen Wuornos, a serial killer responsible for the deaths of seven men, was executed in Florida on October 9, 2002. 

(AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove)

Charles Starkweather, a spree killer responsible for eleven murders, was executed in Nebraska on June 25, 1959. 

(AP Photo/Don Ultang)

Timothy McVeigh, responsble for the Oklahoma City bombing, was executed in Indiana on June 11, 2001.

(AP Photo/File)

Thomas Provenzano, a convicted murderer responsible for shooting three people, was executed in Florida on June 21, 2000.

(AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove)

Gary Gilmore, responsible for the shooting deaths of two men, was executed in Utah on January 17, 1977.

(AP Photo)

Stanley "Tookie" Williams, founder and leader of the Crips gang responsible for several murders and other crimes, was executed in California on December 13, 2005.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Teresa Lewis, convicted of murdering her husband and stepson, was executed in Virginia on September 23, 2010.

(AP Photo/Va Dept of Corrections)

William Bonin, a serial killer responsible for a minimum of 21 rapes and murders, was executed in California on February 23, 1996.

(AP Photo/File)

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, responsible for Boston Marathon bombing, was sentenced to death on May 15, 2015.

(AP Photo/Federal Bureau of Investigation, File)

Nidal Malik Hasan, responsible for Ford Hood shooting, was sentenced to death on August 28, 2013.

(AP Photo/Bell County Sheriff's Department, File)

Joseph E. Duncan III, a convicted murderer and sex offender, was sentenced to death on August 27, 2008.

(AP Photo/Kootenai County First Appearance Video Court)

Death row prisoner Coy Wayne Wesbrook is photographed Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Polunsky Unit outside Livingston, Texas. Wesbrook, 58, is set for lethal injection March 9, 2016, for the November 1997 fatal shootings of his ex-wife and another man at her apartment in Channelview, just east of Houston. They were among five people killed during the shooting rampage. (AP Photo/Michael Graczyk)

He maintained his innocence in a television interview on Wednesday despite being found guilty 10 times by juries in the three cases.

"I never killed those women," Bolin told Tampa Bay's Fox 13. "I don't have no remorse for something I didn't do."

Bolin drew international attention in 1996 when he wed a member of his defense team on national television from death row. Rosalie Martinez divorced her husband, a prominent Tampa attorney, to marry Bolin, who she had worked to clear.

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She maintained his innocence and visited him on his final day. Bolin's last meal was steak, baked potato, salad and lemon meringue pie, a Department of Corrections spokesman said.

The execution was the first this year in the United States. There were 28 U.S. executions last year, the lowest number since 1991, according to the non-profit Death Penalty Information Center.

Bolin's case was marked by multiple overturned convictions before guilty verdicts stuck in each of the women's deaths.

Bolin's death sentence in the Matthews case was upheld in 2004 after three trials. He was sentenced to death three times for the Collins slaying, the last in 2007. After four trials, Bolin began serving life in prison in 2012 for Holley's murder.

Matthews' mother, Kathleen Reeves, told Reuters before the execution: "We just need to get rid of him and throw him in the trash."

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