August 24, 2017
Mark James Asay was executed by the state of Florida on Thursday, August 24, 2017. Mark was pronounced dead at 6:22 pm EDT, inside the execution chamber at the Florida State Prison near Raiford, Florida. He was 53 years of age. Mark is convicted of murdering Robert Lee Booker and Robert (Renee) McDowell on July 18, 1987, in Jacksonville, Florida. Mark has spent the last 28 years of his life on Florida’s death row.
Mark was the youngest of seven children. Mark had previously been arrested and served time in a Texas prison in 1985, for auto theft. He was on parole at the time of the murders. While serving time, Mark earned his general equivalency diploma (GED).
Mark Asay, his brother Robbie Asay, and Robbie’s friend Bubba O’Quinn all went out to a local bar on Friday, July 17, 1987. They spent the evening drinking and playing pool together. Around midnight, the three decided to leave and go to another bar. By 2 am, on the morning of Saturday, July 18, 1987, all three men had each drank approximately 12 beers. Bubba admitted that they were all “buzzed.” At some point throughout the night, Bubba and Robbie had also smoked marijuana.
After leaving the bar, Robbie wanted to pick up a girl he had seen, while Bubba suggested they all find prostitutes; he also volunteered to pay. Mark and Bubba drove off by themselves in Mark’s vehicle. After failing to pick up two women, they observed Robbie’s vehicle parked nearby. They observed Robbie talking to a black male, Robert Lee Booker, a local pimp.
Mark assumed that Robbie was having difficulties with Robert and exited his vehicle and started swearing at Robbie. After Robert used a derogatory term towards Mark, Mark pulled out a gun and shot once at Robert. Robert grabbed his side and ran. His body was later discovered under the edge of a nearby house. Robert died from internal bleeding.
Robbie told Mark and Bubba that he did not believe he had actually shot Robert, just scared him. Bubba and Mark continued to look for prostitutes, eventually finding “Renee.” The men were unaware that Renee was actually Robert McDowell, a black man dressed as a women. Bubba negotiated a deal from both him and Mark to receive oral sex. When Robert (Renee) refused to get in the truck with the men, Mark grabbed Robert (Renee) and began shooting. Mark shot at Robert (Renee) six times. Three of the wounds were fatal. Mark told Bubba that he shot Robert (Renee) because Robert (Renee) had once cheated him on a drug deal.
Mark later told two acquaintances that Mark recognized Robert (Renee) as he and Bubba were looking for “whores.” Mark planned to have Robert (Renee) get in the truck and then for Bubba to drive away. Mark planned to sexually assault and then kill Robert (Renee). When Robert (Renee) refused to get into the vehicle, Mark decided to kill Robert (Renee) right away.
During his trial it was suggested that the killings were racially motivated, in part due to several white supremacist tattoos Mark sported, as well as his use of derogatory slang towards the victims. Mark has denied allegations that he is racist, claiming that he got the tattoos while in prison as a way to avoid being beaten up.
Mark Asay is the first individual executed by Florida in over 18 months. Executions have been on hold due to legal problems with Florida's death penalty sentencing procedure.
Please pray for peace for the families of Robert Booker and Robert McDowell. Please pray for strength for the family of Mark.