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Tampa Bay serial killer complains lethal injection would be ‘cruel and unusual’

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A serial killer who murdered at least eight women in Tampa Bay in the early 1980s complained that a lethal injection would constitute “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Bobby Joe Long’s attorneys argued in court Thursday with the state over which witnesses should be allowed to testify about Long’s medical condition and the impacts of lethal injection.

The evidentiary hearing on that argument is scheduled for Friday morning in Hillsborough County.

Many of the witnesses were either withdrawn by the defense, or stricken from the list by the judge granting a motion to strike.

The defense attorneys argued that Long has a right to present a viable option used in another state and challenge why it couldn’t be used in this case, citing Bucklew v. Precythe, another death penalty case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court last month.

The defense also argued those attorneys had much more time to present those arguments, citing multiple times in court filings that the legal timeframe set out in this case was too constrictive.

Judge Michelle Sisco of Florida’s 13th judicial circuit (Hillsborough County) ordered the state to produce a witness by 4 p.m. Thursday who can speak to why Florida doesn’t follow protocol of other state.

Long’s attorneys also argued that the state is in violation of HIPAA, because Florida’s Department of Corrections sent the state Long’s medical history. They said they were only going to present certain parts of his history that were relevant to the argument about his medical condition, and that his entire history should not be possessed by the state.

Judge Sisco disagreed, noting that Long’s medical history and the impact a lethal injection would have on his alleged medical condition is the only reason the evidentiary hearing is taking place.

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