Convicted murderer denied delay in execution

ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - According to a press release from the Office of the State Attorney, a judge denied Eric Branch's request for the Stay of Execution and Motion to Vacate Judgment and Sentence Thursday. This means his execution will go on as scheduled.

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.

Branch reportedly didn't want to be sentenced to death because he said he had the mental capacity of a child under 18. He also said his experience on death row for the last 25 years violated the eighth amendment and he suffered cruel and unusual punishment. A judge denied both those claims and did not issue a Stay of Execution.

His execution is still set for February 22.

Branch is expected to appeal the judge's decision to the Florida Supreme Court.