Friday, July 9, 1999 Published at 05:36 GMT 06:36 UK
Row over new electric chair
Florida suspended the death penalty after "Old Sparky" caught fire
Friday's executions on Florida's death row have been postponed after a bloody debut for the state's new electric chair.
Witnesses said blood appeared to pour from the mouth and chest of inmate Allen Lee "Tiny" Davis, as he was hit with 2,300 volts in the early hours of the morning,
By the time the 159kg man was pronounced dead, witnesses said blood covered the collar of his white shirt, and had left a stain on his chest about the size of a dinner plate, even oozing through the buckle holes of the leather chest strap holding him to the chair.
The authorities said the Davis had simply had a nosebleed and the blood was not related to the electrical charge coursing through his body.
"Nothing went wrong," said Cory Tilley, a spokesman for Florida's Governor Jeb Bush.
"The chair functioned as it was designed to function and we're comfortable that that worked."
But the problematic execution gave Florida's next condemned man - Thomas Provenzano - grounds for a successful legal challenge.
Old Sparky 'falling apart'
Correction officials had previously said "Old Sparky" was falling apart, and had raised concern after an execution in 1997 when flames shot from the condemned man's head.
Mr Davis was the 58th person to be executed this year in the United States. He was put to death for the murders of a woman and her two daughters 17 years ago.