Elmer Leon Carroll execution: Florida man to die by lethal injection for Christine McGowan murder

Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday signed a death warrant for a man convicted of raping and suffocating a 10-year-old girl after breaking into her Orange County home almost 23 years ago.

Elmer Leon Carroll, 56, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at Florida State Prison near Raiford at 6 p.m. on May 28.

He was sentenced to death in the first-degree murder of Christine McGowan of Apopka, the night before Halloween in 1990.

Carroll was living next door at a homeless men's mission and was arrested within hours of the girl's body being found. His court-appointed attorney had argued Carroll was insane when he killed her.

According to reports, Carroll told prosecutors after his April 1992 conviction on sexual battery and murder charges that he would "rise from the grave" to get them, vowing "you'll see me again" - the first emotion he had shown at the trial.

Carroll later claimed it would be unconstitutional to execute him because he has mental retardation. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that it was unconstitutional to execute those with the intelligence level that is determined to be in the mental retardation range.

But various psychiatrists and psychologists who examined Carroll disagreed on whether he was competent to understand what he had done. In 2009, a panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Carroll's argument.

Carroll has since exhausted all his state and federal appeals, the death warrant said.

The last execution in Florida was of Larry Eugene Mann, one of the longest-serving inmates on death row, on April 10.

Mann, 59, was put to death 32 years after he kidnapped and murdered another 10-year-old girl, Elisa Nelson, who had been riding her bike to school in Pinellas County.

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