Florida Executes Serial Killer

A former short-order cook who confessed to 41 murders was executed Monday morning in Florida's electric chair, the state's first execution since flames flared from a condemned man's mask a year ago.

In the first of four electrocutions scheduled for the next eight days, Gerald Stano, 46, was executed for killing a 17-year-old hitchhiker in December 1973.

Stano made no final statement and stared straight ahead as he was strapped in, mustering only a small smile toward his attorney.

There was no visible smoke or flame.

Stano confessed that he choked the girl repeatedly and dumped her body in a drainage ditch before cleaning up and going roller skating. Stano later confessed to 41 murders in Florida and other states. Most of his victims were prostitutes, runaways and teen-agers.

Stano was the first inmate electrocuted since last March 25, when flames shot from behind inmate Pedro Medina's face mask, prompting a series of unsuccessful appeals on whether the Florida's 75-year-old electric chair was cruel and unusual punishment.

An autopsy report said Medina died instantly when the electricity was turned on.

According to Justice Department statistics, Florida ranks third in the nation in the number of executions. Stano is the 40th person to be executed there since 1976, when a Supreme Court ruling allowed states to resume capital punishment.

In Stano's unsuccessful appeals, he claimed that prosecutors had solicited false testimony from a jailhouse informant.

Jacksonville cop killer Leo Jones was scheduled to die Tuesday, followed on March 30 by Judy Buenoano, the convict known as the "Black Widow" for the arsenic poisoning death of her husband and drowning of her son. On March 31, Daniel Remeta is to be executed for the slaying of a store clerk during a multi-state killing spree.

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