Florida man set to be executed for woman’s 1992 killing

This undated photo provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows Jose Antonio Jimenez. Jimenez is scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, for beating and stabbing to death of an elderly woman in Miami-Dade County 26 years ago. (Florida Department of Law Enforcement via AP)

STARKE, Fla. – A man convicted of killing a South Florida woman, 26 years ago, during an apartment break-in is set to be executed Thursday evening.

Barring a stay, a 55-year-old Jose Antonio Jimenez was scheduled to receive a lethal injection at 6 p.m. in the Florida State Prison for the 1992 killing of the 63-year-old Phyllis Minas in her North Miami apartment.

According to trial transcripts, Minas’ neighbors said they heard the woman cries out in her second-floor apartment and tried to enter, but someone from the inside had locked the door. The building custodian said he saw Jimenez jump of the woman from the second floor balcony. And the prosecutor said a fingerprint on the inside of the apartment for the door matched Jimenez’s prints.

The man’s defense maintains he did not kill the woman, saying all the evidence against him was circumstantial and that the researchers had lied to pin the crime on him. But at the end of a week-long trial, Jimenez was found guilty and later sentenced to death.

Authorities say Jimenez was a cocaine addict who was burglarizing Minas’ apartment when she came home and surprised him. The researchers said Minas, a former employee of the Miami-Dade Court Clerk, was stabbed eight times.

Jimenez also was convicted of an earlier burglary and second-degree murder in the 1990 death of another woman in Miami Beach.

Through the years, the inmate has filed various appeals. In an appeal filed with the U.S. Supreme court this week, Jimenez and his lawyers said the detectives who investigated the case gave “false or, at best, misleading testimony,” and that a number of important police reports were lost.

In addition, lawyers at the court to stay the execution and consider whether Florida’s lethal injection protocol constitutes cruel and unusual punishment that violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The lawyers point to the February version of Eric Branch with the same medications which experts later concluded he felt a lot of pain, including screaming the word “murderers!” several times as he thrashed about on the gurney.

Gov. Rick Scott signed the death warrant for Jimenez last summer and scheduled the execution for August. The Supreme court continued that also, but lifted the stay in October.

According to corrections officials, Jimenez would be the 28th inmate executed in Florida since Scott took office in 2011, as the procedure is being performed Thursday evening. That would be more than all the other Florida governor since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

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