St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • First claim paid: lobbyist's son
  • Inconclusive DNA tests, another execution date
  • Shuttle Disaster: Feeney named to panel planning NASA inquiry
  • Around the state: St. Johns doctors protest malpractice coverage cost
  • Judge won't drop charges related to boys' murder case

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story

    printer version

    Inconclusive DNA tests, another execution date

    The longest-serving death row inmate from Pinellas County is rescheduled for execution Feb. 26.

    By KELLEY BENHAM, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published February 6, 2003

    Once again the state has scheduled Amos Lee King's execution for the murder of an elderly Tarpon Springs woman, this time after DNA tests on 25-year-old evidence proved inconclusive.

    King, the longest-serving death row inmate from Pinellas County, has survived warrants by three governors. Gov. Jeb Bush granted his most recent stay, his sixth, less than an hour before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection Dec. 2.

    Bush lifted that stay Wednesday, and the execution was scheduled for 6 p.m. on Feb. 26.

    "The imposition of this death sentence and justice for the family of Natalie Brady are long overdue," Bush said in a statement.

    Brady, 68, was raped, beaten, stabbed with her own paring knife and assaulted with her own knitting needles, then left to die in her burning home.

    Her family struggles each time an execution date is set, hating that they take satisfaction in it, and fearing that it won't come to pass.

    "It's strange to say you get your hopes up," said Brady's niece, Peggy Scheerer, 45. "But you can't help but think: 'Oh yes, finally.' "

    The night Brady was killed, in March 1977, King was a 22-year-old former mechanic serving four years for stealing a shotgun.

    That night, King escaped from a minimum-security work release center near her home, and was caught hours later sneaking back into the prison with blood on his pants. He fought with the security guard who confronted him, James D. McDonough, stabbing him at least 15 times in 40 minutes. McDonough lost four pints of blood, but lived.

    Much of the physical evidence in the case has been lost, including King's clothes and Brady's rape kit. King, 48, has always maintained his innocence and fought his execution with every avenue.

    King's lawyers had hoped new technology would find results in scraps of deteriorated evidence -- hair samples, fingernail scrapings and ambulance sheets.

    "We tried and it's sad," said King's lawyer Barry Scheck, the co-director of the Innocence Project who persuaded Bush to grant the stay in December. The Innocence Project has used DNA evidence to exonerate 116 inmates. But this time the tests, conducted in part by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and in part by a private laboratory, neither incriminated nor exonerated King.

    The samples were too old, and too badly deteriorated. The telling evidence is gone. "There was just nothing to test," Scheck said.

    One of King's state-appointed attorneys, Peter Cannon of Tampa, said he would have to see the results himself before deciding what to do next. But he said he would follow "all available options" to stop the execution.

    Cannon has said previously that a number of issues could justify future appeals. "Certainly, we're not going to give up on any of the issues," Cannon said. "There are some matters we're still concerned about, and we're going to continue to fight."

    -- Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. Kelley Benham can be reached at (727) 445-4174 or .

    Back to State news
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan

    From the Times state desk