Monday, October 16, 2006

Condemned Fla. killer to meet reporters

Condemned Fla. killer to meet reporters

TALLAHASSEE -- Condemned murderer Arthur Rutherford is scheduled to be executed Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Before then, he has something to say.

On Tuesday afternoon, Rutherford is scheduled to hold a group interview with reporters.

Rutherford is set to be executed for the 1985 murder of Stella Salamon in her Milton home. The 63-year-old woman was beaten, strangled and drowned. Rutherford was found guilty in two jury trials.

He has maintained his innocence.

The Department of Corrections said its procedures for Death Row inmates allow condemned prisoners a final interview with either a single reporter or a group of reporters at the Florida State Prison outside off Starke.

Rutherford will meet with up to five reporters, those on the witness list for his execution the next day.

Attorney Linda McDermott said she had discussed the interview with Rutherford, but attorney-client confidentiality precluded her from saying what those discussions were about. McDermott said last week that she intended to file appeals in federal court today.

Last Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court rejected Rutherford's latest appeals, exhausting his legal options in state court.Rutherford's daughter, Regina Grayson, said she had not discussed with her father what he intended to say. She saw her father twice last week and is scheduled for another visit on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Grayson and other family members will be allowed a one-hour visit where contact is allowed, Grayson said.

In January, Rutherford was strapped onto a gurney with intravenous tubes inserted and ready to deliver the drugs that would have killed him. Then, the U.S. Supreme Court granted him a stay of execution that spared his life. That appeal was denied earlier this month by the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

Paul Flemming is a reporter for Gannett News Service in Tallahassee.

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