MIAMI — A 61-year-old Cuban man convicted of the 1978 murder of a US cop was executed in Florida by lethal injection Wednesday, after the Supreme Court rejected his petitions for a stay, prison authorities said.
The execution of Manuel Valle came just one week after the highly controversial high-profile execution of Troy Davis, who went to his death proclaiming his innocence in the murder of a policeman in the state of Georgia.
"Manuel Valle was executed tonight. The time of death was 7:14 pm," a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections, Jo Ellyn Rackleff, said in a statement.
Valle's family has said they will reclaim the body after an autopsy, which is mandatory under Florida law for any inmate who dies in custody, she said.
Relatives of the victim, 41-year-old police officer Louis Pena, said they felt a "great relief that after 33 years, justice has finally been served for Louis and his family."
"Manuel Valle was tried, convicted and sentenced more than once by juries of his peers and there was absolutely no doubt of his guilt because there was an eyewitness, a policeman," the statement said.
Spain had intervened at the last minute, asking the United States to stop the execution on humanitarian grounds and saying Valle was likely eligible for Spanish nationality. The US and Cuba do not have full diplomatic ties.