Rick Scott schedules execution for Florida inmate convicted of killing UWF student


Gov. Rick Scott has scheduled the execution date of convicted killer and rapist Eric Scott Branch for Feb. 22 at 6 p.m.

  • Photo via Florida Department of Corrections
Branch was found guilty of raping and strangling University of West Florida student Susan Morris in 1993. The Pensacola News Journal reports Branch attacked the 21-year-old as she walked to her car on the UWF campus in Pensacola. After dragging her into nearby woods, Branch severely beat Morris in the head and face. Investigators said he sexually battered and strangled her to death. Branch then left Morris' body in a shallow grave and stole her car to flee out of Florida.

Branch was also convicted for sexually assaulting another woman in Florida 10 days before Morris was killed. In 1991, he was found guilty of raping and beating a 14-year-old girl in Indiana.

Branch was sentenced to death in 1994 after a 10-2 jury recommendation. The News Journal reports the inmate attempted to have his sentence vacated after Scott signed a law requiring a unanimous jury to recommend a death sentence.