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Scott signs death warrant in Jacksonville murders

Mark James Asay
Mark James Asay

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed a death warrant for Mark James Asay, who has been on Death Row since 1988 for the murders of two Jacksonville men, Robert Lee Booker and Robert McDowell.

Asay, 51, shot Booker once in the stomach after getting into a confrontation in July 1987 in downtown Jacksonville. The incident started when Asay noticed his brother talking to Booker. According to state records, Asay immediately became confrontational with Booker despite his brother saying things were all right. Booker ran from the scene, but died of the gunshot wound.

Asay allegedly later told a friend he shot Booker to show "who is boss."

A short time later, Asay and his friend came upon Robert McDowell. Asay claimed McDowell had previously cheated him out of $10 in a drug deal, according to a summary from the governor's office. Asay and a friend arranged for McDowell to rendezvous with them in an alley. But when McDowell refused to get into a truck, Asay grabbed McDowell by the arm and shot him four times in the chest. A jury voted 9-3 to recommend the death penalty in both cases.

The warrant for the March 17 execution comes a day after Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. was put to death by lethal injection for the December 1986 murder of Terri Lynn Matthews, whose body was discovered by the side of a road in rural Pasco County.

Asay would be the third inmate executed this year. Michael Ray Lambrix, who has spent 31 years on Death Row, is scheduled to be executed place Feb. 11.