James Adams was executed by the State of Florida for the murder of a man during a robbery. According to court documents James Adams had escaped from a Florida prison where he was serving a 99 year sentence for rape when he attempted to rob Edgar Brown who he would beat to death with a fireplace poker. James Adams would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
James Adams More News
Urging other death row inmates to ”keep on fighting,” James Adams died in the electric chair today for murdering a rancher, becoming the first black executed in Florida in 20 years.
Mr. Adams, 47 years old, who had maintained his innocence and charged that race played a part in his convictions, was pronounced dead at 7:11 A.M. The United States Supreme Court, voting 5 to 4, cleared the way for his execution Wednesday night by overruling a lower court that granted a stay so it could review whether Florida’s death penalty laws were racially discriminatory.
The stocky, muscular man told reporters earlier he ”wouldn’t hesitate to walk like a man” to his death. He did just that.
‘I Have Only Love’
”To all the men on death row, keep on fighting because it is wrong and immoral,” Mr. Adams said after being strapped into the chair where four others have died since 1979. ”I have no animosity toward anyone. I only have love.”
Mr. Adams was convicted of the murder of Edgar Brown of Fort Pierce, a prominent rancher and former St. Lucie County sheriff’s deputy. Mr. Brown was beaten to death with a poker in a robbery at his home on Nov. 12, 1973, and a witness said he had seen Mr. Adams running from the scene.
At the time, Mr. Adams was an fugitive from Tennessee, where he had served 10 years of a 99-year sentence for rape.
In an interview Tuesday, Mr. Adams said he was ”railroaded” in each crime because he was a poor black and the victims were white.
But Gov. Bob Graham, who signed Mr. Adams’s death warrant, said there was no reason to grant a reprieve as requested by defense attorneys and opponents of the death penalty.
Al Brown, the victim’s son, said: ”I don’t care what they do to him. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing.” ‘A Terrible Mistake’
The family of James Adams, one of 14 children of parents who were sharecroppers, insisted the wrong man was executed. ”He has never killed anyone and Governor Graham is making a terrible mistake,” relatives said in a statement distributed in Tallahassee.
The Rev. Ernie Brunelle, a Roman Catholic priest from Gainesville, who was among 30 death penalty opponents outside Florida State Prison, said, ”The fact he was tried by a male, all- white jury, that means a great deal.” About 50 others protested at the Capitol in Tallahassee.