Manuel Valle Executed After Stay Denied by U.S. Supreme Court

South Florida cop killer Manuel Valle was executed by lethal injection inside the Florida State Prison at 7:14 p.m. today.

Valle came within minutes of dying earlier in the day, before the U.S. Supreme Court halted the lethal injection for several hours before issuing this decision denying a stay of execution.

The Miami Herald apparently decided to run with a story of Valle dying shortly after the scheduled execution time of 4 p.m., which obviously wasn't true.

Florida Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jo Ellyn Rackleff says Valle was "calm and compliant" this morning and spent time with the prison chaplain.

Valle's last meal consisted of a fried chicken breast, white rice, garlic toast, peach cobbler, and Coca-Cola.

Rackleff says after Valle's autopsy -- which is ordered under state law -- his family will claim his body.

According to the DOC, Valle, 61, had been locked up at the prison since May 16, 1978, and was the first prisoner executed in Florida under the regime of Gov. Rick Scott.

Before his 1978 conviction and eventual death sentence for killing Coral Gables Officer Louis Pena -- which also included an additional five years for possession of an illegal weapon and 30 years for the attempted murder of another cop -- Valle had served time for two forgery convictions and had another conviction for grand theft of a motor vehicle, according to state prison records.

The last execution by the State of Florida was on February 16, 2010, for Martin Grossman, who was convicted in 1984 at age 19 for killing a state wildlife officer, and Valle was the first person from Miami-Dade County to be executed by the state since 2006.

Valle spent more than 30 years on death row, since being sentenced to die on August 4, 1981, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

The last three inmates executed before Valle all spent more than 23 years on death row, according to FDOC records, and there are currently 396 people on Florida's death row awaiting execution.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley