A man convicted of killing eight people in the late 1970s in South Florida has been put to death. John Errol Ferguson, 65, was killed by lethal injection Monday night at Florida State Prison near Starke.
Ferguson’s lawyers argued their client wasn’t sane enough to be put to death, saying he was mentally ill and was schizophrenic. He had been sentenced to death for the 1977 murders of six Carol City residents who were killed execution style following a drug-related robbery. They were blindfolded, knelt down, and shot in the head. Six months later, Ferguson abducted and killed a pair of high school students in Hialeah.
The execution was set by Gov. Rick Scott last month after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a stay that had been issued last year because of questions about Ferguson’s sanity. Attorneys argued that Ferguson’s execution would violate the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, contending that an individual must have a rational understanding of why he is being put to death. The courts rejected that argument.
Department of Corrections Spokeswoman Ann Howard said Ferguson did not request a special last meal, and instead ate the same prison fare as the other inmates — a meat patty on white bread, potato salad, carrots and stewed tomatoes.
His last statement was “I just want everyone to know I am the Prince of God, and I will rise again.”