A convicted child molester condemned for the 1990 rape and murder of a 10-year-old Florida girl was executed Wednesday at the Florida State Prison.
Elmer Carroll, 56, was pronounced dead at 6:12 p.m. Wednesday after an injection at the prison in Starke, Florida Gov. Rick Scott's office said.
Carroll was sentenced to die for first-degree murder and sexual battery in the rape and strangling death of Christine McGowan. The girl lived with her family next door to a halfway house for homeless men where Carroll was staying in Apopka.
Five of Christine's family members were among those witnessing the execution. Two of them hugged before walking out, and the family issued a statement read to the media by Corrections Department spokeswoman Ann Howard.
"Thank you to all that have worked so hard, and justice for all, namely, Christine McGowan. Rest in peace," said the statement from family member Julie McGowan.
Carroll said "no sir" when prison officials asked if he wished to make a final statement. A few minutes after the injection procedure began at 6:01 p.m., witnesses could see Carroll's chest rising and falling, and at one point he puffed his cheeks out. He was pronounced dead after a prison physician checked him with a stethoscope.
During Carroll's two decades on death row, his lawyers argued he was too mentally ill to stand trial or be subjected to the death penalty. The U.S. Supreme Court denied that petition.
Carroll, who had been imprisoned twice for indecent assault on a child, had told one of his housemates that the Christine was "cute, sweet and liked to watch him make boats," according to witness testimony at his trial.
Christine's stepfather found the girl dead in her bedroom and noticed that his truck was missing. The truck was found a short time later and an officer came upon Carroll — who had blood on his sweatshirt and genitals, while traces of his semen, saliva and pubic hair were found on Christine, according to court records.
Carroll's lawyers employed the insanity defense at his trial, during which they and prosecutors presented conflicting testimony from psychiatrists about Carroll's mental competency.
Carroll had two visitors Wednesday morning, a mitigation specialist and a Catholic priest. No family visited. He also ate a last meal that included eggs, bacon, biscuits, fruit salad and a whole sliced tomato.