Death row survivors want meeting with governor

Legislation goal: Cut prison time prior to execution

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Georgia is slated to execute its first woman in 70 years today.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In the wake of Elmer Carroll's execution Wednesday, many who oppose the death penalty gathered at the state Capitol on Thursday.

Carroll was sentenced to death for the 1990 rape and murder of 10-year-old Christine McGowan.

In the crowd of two-dozen opponents were two of 24 men whom Florida sentenced to death, then released after they were found to be innocent.

"I am No. 24, Seth Penalver, exonerated last year in the state of Florida," Penalver said.

"There are more innocent people on death row. It's not something new. It's ongoing," said Mark Elliot, of Floridians Against the Death Penalty.

"For every three executed, you have one innocent," Penalver said. "We have a problem here. I have a letter here from over 40 people exonerated from death row from across the United States of America."

Penalver and another man who was exonerated went to the Capitol to tell their story to Gov. Rick Scott in hopes of convincing him not to sign legislation to speed up executions, but Scott was out of town.

The goal of legislation being sent to the governor is to cut the time on death row from 13 years to 10 years, but eight of the people who have been exonerated were there more than a decade.

While the two men waited for a meeting, they questioned the state's track record. Wednesday's execution was the 76th in recent years, and two more executions are set for June.

A 27-year-old Tampa death penalty opponent, Kurt Wadsworth Jr., is walking 2,000 miles across Florida in an effort to convince Scott not to sign legislation speeding up the death penalty. The death penalty opponent says people have been reaching out since he began his walk a week ago.

"Instead of waiting for the right political moment or waiting for the right politician or waiting for the right piece of legislation, I have two feet, and I get up and I start walking and start talking to people," Wadsworth said. "As I'm walking down the street, there are people pulling over to thank me. They bring food, sometimes they bring ice cream. I've never seen such an outpouring of support."

Wadsworth began his walk in Pensacola a week ago. He traveled by car to Tallahassee on Thursday to take part in a protest of the death penalty and is being driven back to the Panhandle so he can resume his 2,000-mile walk.

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