Starke, Florida--The state of Florida executed killer Martin Grossman Tuesday evening at 6:17 pm. Grossman killed Wildlife Officer Peggy Park in 1984 in North Pinellas County.
Witnesses were led into the death chamber at 5:45 where a curtain was pulled down over the glass wall.
At precisely 6 pm, the curtain rose, the team warden was on the phone with the Governor's office and he asked Grossman if he had any last words.
Grossman said, "I would like to extend my heartfelt remorse to the victim's family. I fully regret everything that occurred that night, for everything that was done, whether I remember everything or not. I accept responsibility."
Grossman then said a prayer, "Shema Yisrael " and the execution began at 6:02. As the chemicals went into his body, Grossman closed his eyes and looked like he was going to sleep. At 6:07, the team warden called out Grossman's name , shook his body and brushed against his eyelashes to make sure he was unconscious, then the final chemical was administered to stop his heart.
At 6:16, the warden looked to the attending Doctor who was behind a wall. The doctor came out, used a stethoscope and at 6:17 the killer was pronounced dead.
During the rather antiseptic execution, Park's mother stared at her daughter's killer who was just 10 feet away. Afterwards, Margaret Park said she was thinking of the children of Haiti who were buried under concrete and died a horrible, scary death. Park says she thinks Grossman had it easy.
Park's sister Betsy says 25 years is an excruciating long time to have to wait and have the way her sister died brought up over and over. Betsy Park was sad her father didn't live to see the day the killer died.
Park says she was upset with some opponents of the execution including the Pope for stepping in and some Jewish groups which she said went too far. According to Park the family was harassed over the past week and she thinks it is reprehensible.
However Park says she is glad that Grossman took responsibility, but says it was long overdue.
Having covered some of the Peggy Park murder, and now being a witness at the execution of her killer, it seems as if Park's death was more traumatizing. She was beaten over the head more than 20 times with her flashlight and then shot in the head with her service revolver. And while the execution brings some closure, it will never end for the Park family.
Margaret Park says you don't forget, but you go on.
And they will go on knowing the man who killed their daughter has finally been served justice, even if it took a quarter of a century for that to happen.