Execution still on for man convicted of 1993 murder

ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A man who is scheduled to be put to death in February was denied an appeal Monday by the Florida Supreme Court.

Eric Scott Branch was sentenced to death in 1994 for the murder of Susan Morris. On January 11, 1993, Branch attacked Morris as she walked to her car in the University of West Florida parking lot. Branch dragged her to a nearby wooded area and beat her, strangled her, and sexually battered her. Branch left her body in a shallow grave covered with dirt and leaves and stole her car to leave the state.

Branch was convicted of sexual battery and beating a 14-year-old girl in Indiana in 1991. He was also convicted in Bay County for another sexual battery in Bay County ten days before he killed Morris.

In Monday's decision, the Florida Supreme Court found Branch's death sentence was final in 1997 and that the Hurst decision does not apply to his sentencing.

Branch will be executed Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 6 p.m.