Fla. executes killer of wildlife officer

STARKE – A Florida death row inmate was executed Tuesday for the slaying of a state wildlife officer more than 25 years ago.

Martin Edward Grossman, 45, died at 6:17 p.m. at Florida State Prison, a spokesman for Gov. Charlie Crist said. Earlier Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block the execution.

Grossman was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of 26-year-old Margaret “Peggy” Park, who was shot with her own gun Dec. 13, 1984.

Before the execution began, Grossman made a brief statement: “I would like to extend my heartfelt remorse to the victim’s family.”

After expressing regret, he added, “I accept responsibility.” He prayed briefly in Hebrew, then closed his eyes. He was pronounced dead 15 minutes later.

Grossman was the 69th person executed in Florida since the death penalty was reinstated here in 1979. He was the 25th by lethal injection, the fifth executed under Crist and the first in 2010.

Grossman was convicted in October 1985 and sentenced to death. Taylor was convicted of third-degree murder.

The victim’s sister, Betsy, witnessed the execution along with her 79-year-old mother Peggy Park and brother Stephen Park.

Afterward, reading from a statement, Betsy said, “We came here today hoping for closure and an end to the years of reminders of how Peggy died overshadowing our memories of how she lived. I believe we realized that hope today.”

Grossman ate a chicken sandwich, cookies and fruit punch Tuesday, Florida Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said. All the items were from the inmate canteen; he had not requested a last meal.