A Florida inmate who was sentenced to death for the 1993 rape and murder of college student Susan Morris screamed "murderers" three times after receiving the lethal injection on Thursday evening at Florida State Prison.
Branch was pronounced dead at 19:05 local time on Thursday (00:05 GMT on Friday).
Branch later appealed his death sentence on grounds that the jury vote had to be unanimous but that appeal was denied.
An unidentified executioner standing behind a long curtain then administered the lethal injection, a mix of etomidate, bromide and potassium acetate.More news: Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc (BUFF) Receives $32.83 Average PT from Brokerages
Eric Branch used his last words to address the team warden and two other officials present in the execution chamber, asking them to let Governor Rick Scott and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to carry out the execution instead.
Branch was previously convicted for the 1991 sexual battery and beating of a 14-year-old girl in IN, and was subsequently convicted in Bay County for another sexual battery that he had committed 10 days prior to killing Susan Morris. Branch dragged Morris into a nearby wooded area where he severely beat her in the face and head, strangled her, and sexually battered her. Branch then left Morris' body in a shallow grave covered with dirt and leaves, and stole her vehicle to flee out of the state. The Florida Supreme Court said the crime committed by Branch was particularly brutal.
The jury in his murder case recommended the death penalty by a 10-2 vote under Florida's old capital punishment system, which was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016. Florida legislators subsequently changed the system to comply.
Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court granted a temporary stay of execution to a cancer-stricken death row inmate in the state of Alabama.More news: Nigel Farage In Disbelief Over Labour's Post-Brexit Customs Union Plan
Elsewhere, Texas' governor spared a convicted killer's life shortly before the inmate was to have been executed Thursday for masterminding the fatal shootings of his mother and brother. Whitaker's father also was shot in the 2003 plot at the family's suburban Houston home but survived.
Herman Lindsey, a former death-row inmate who was exonerated in 2009 protested against Branch's execution outside the prison on Thursday saying he wants to see the practice abolished.
In Florida, relatives of victim Susan Morris said they remain profoundly grieved by her violent death. Still, the pain remains. "Yet because of who she was. she will never be forgotten by those who love her".More news: School shooting suspect could lose public defender after reports of $800K inheritance