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.

A Look Back at Florida's Messiest Execution

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.

A Look Back at Florida's Messiest Execution

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High Court official website in an attempt to argue that the practice of capital punishment via electrocution was outdated.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.

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This story originally appeared in this year’s biggest true crime hit 365 Days of Crime.
From the death row inmate who sued the state for botching his execution to a bank robber who gave the cashier his full name and address, 365 Days of Crime is the ULTIMATE true crime treat.


  • Well if it is heartless to say…. so what! I am sure his poor innocent victims went through worse then what he went through, no sympathy. A Mother and two Daughters died by his hands and I am sure they were sacred to death as he was holding them before he murdered them.

  • I don’t care how much he suffered when he was executed. The bastard murdered three people. I don’t think he had their “comfort” in mind.

  • I think all them bastards need to be tortured before killing them,imagine the suffering of their innocent victims,why we should feel sorry for these murderers when they don’t even blink an eyelid while killing

    • Because justice should not ever, ever be about revenge. True justice is about punishing those who did wrong. There is a very big difference between punishment, and torture. If we torture monsters, what does that make us?

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