Florida Execution Carried Out 33 Years After Girl Kidnapped, Killed

Image: Florida Execution Carried Out 33 Years After Girl Kidnapped, Killed Left, undated image of Larry Eugene Mann. At right is Jeff Nelson, brother of murder victim Elisa Vera Nelson, reading a statement to the media following the execution of Mann who abducted and killed 10-year-old Elisa Vera Nelson on Nov. 4, 1980.

Thursday, 11 Apr 2013 09:31 AM


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A man who was on death row in Florida for more than three decades was executed Wednesday for the kidnapping and killing a 10-year-old girl in 1980.

One of the state's longest-serving death row inmates, Larry Eugene Mann, 59, was pronounced dead from a lethal injection at 7:19 p.m. at the Florida State Prison in Starke, the Florida Department of Corrections said.

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A last-minute appeal had been denied shortly before the execution.

Mann, a pedophile who had previously served time in prison for sexual battery, snatched Elisa Nelson from her bicycle as she pedaled to school on November 4, 1980, in the Gulf Coast town of Palm Harbor, according to court documents.

He threw the bicycle in a ditch and drove the girl to an orange grove, where he beat her, stabbed her and crushed her head with a concrete-encased pole, trial evidence showed.

Elisa had carried a note in her pocket explaining that she was late for school because she had a dental appointment. The blood-stained note was found in Mann's truck.

Mann was convicted of murder and sentenced to die in 1981, then received the death penalty again in 1990 after a federal court granted him a re-sentencing.

In an appeal rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court last week, Mann's lawyers argued that Florida's death penalty law failed to meet evolving standards of decency, in part because it allows a jury to recommend death by a simple majority rather than requiring unanimity.

They also said Mann had been arbitrarily chosen for execution from among more than 400 Florida Death Row inmates, 94 of whom had exhausted their appeals.

Since his 1990 re-sentencing, Mann's case had been reviewed by dozens of judges and justices, according to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

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Related stories:

Ky Court Rejects Death Row Inmate’s Claim of Mental Illness

Cop Killer Abu-Jamal Moved Off Death Row

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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