On July 8, 1999, the execution of Allen Lee Davis set off a shock wave that rippled around the world. During his time in the electric chair, Davis bled profusely from the nose and suffered burns to his head, leg, and groin area.
As the switch was thrown, the “Tiny” Davis, who was executed for the May 11, 1982, murder of Nancy Weiler and her two daughters, reared back against the restraints, giving witnesses a chilling glimpse under a black hood designed to hide the faces of the condemned. Blood poured from his vivid purple nose, ran down the wide leather strap that covered his mouth and soaked the white shirt.
After the power was turned off, Davis was still alive. Witnesses said his chest rose and fell about 10 times before he went still.
After the execution, state prison officials and Governor Jeb Bush said the Old Sparky functioned properly. Three photos of the incident have been published on Florida’s High Court official website in an attempt to argue that the practice of capital punishment via electrocution was outdated. The report said that any future executions should be carried out through lethal injection since the Davis execution was not the first to raise questions in Florida about the humaneness of electrocution. In 1990 and 1997, Jesse Tafero and Pedro Medina caught fire in the chair as they were being put to death.
Finally, after the Davis execution, lethal injection was enabled and became the default method. Inmates, however, may still choose electrocution.
Exclusively for True Crime Magazine’s Premium Members, here’s an extremely graphic look back at Florida’s messiest execution.