Alvin Bernard Ford


[AP] Gainesville, FL - Alvin Bernard Ford, a convicted police killer whose execution was blocked by the United States Supreme Court because of his lawyers' contention that he had become insane on death row, died of natural causes on Feb. 26, 1991 a state corrections spokesman said today. He was 37 years old.

Mr. Ford died two days after he had been found unconscious in his death row cell at Florida State Prison near Starke, said the spokesman, Bob Macmaster.

The authorities said only that Mr. Ford had beem experiencing respiratory problems.

Mr. Ford was sentenced to die for the July 21, 1974, murder of a police officer during a restaurant robbery in Fort Lauderdale. But 14 hours before he was to be executed, the United States Court of Appeals of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ordered a delay. Mr. Ford's lawyers argued that he had been driven insane by his long wait on death row.

In 1986, the Supreme Court ruled that states may not execute prisoners who are insane because they cannot comprehend why they are being punished. The Court also found the Florida procedure for sanity decisions flawed, and returned the Ford case to the lower courts.

In 1989, a Federal district judge ruled that Mr. Ford was in fact sane. Defense lawyers appealed that ruling, and the appeal was pending when Mr. Ford died.

-A version of this obituary appeared in print on March 9, 1991, on page 111 of the New York Times

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