Man executed for North Miami woman's 1992 murder

Jose Antonio Jimenez killed 26 years after murder of Phyllis Minas

By Jeff Weinsier - Investigative Reporter, Associated Press

RAIFORD, Fla. - A man who killed a North Miami woman who caught him burglarizing his apartment 26 years ago has been executed.

Jose Antonio Jimenez, 55, died by lethal injection Thursday night at the Florida State Prison. He was sentenced to death for the murder of Phyllis Minas, who was brutally beaten and stabbed in her North Miami apartment Oct. 2, 1992.

Jimenez was pronounced dead at 9:48 p.m., nearly four hours after he was scheduled to die. The execution was delayed after Jimenez's lawyers made a last-minute appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The execution took place without incident," Florida Department of Corrections spokeswoman Michelle Glady said. "He had no last statement."

Local 10 News investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier, who witnessed the execution, said Jimenez was blinking profusely, twitching and breathing heavily. Then it all stopped.

Minas lived in apartment 207 at 13725 NE Sixth Ave. in North Miami. She was a clerk at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building and had just come home from work.

Phyllis Minas lived in apartment 207 at 13725 NE Sixth Ave. in North Miami.

Jimenez lived one floor up and knew her door was always opened.

According to court documents, Jimenez entered Phyllis' apartment. There was a struggle.

Records show Minas was stabbed repeatedly.

According to a police report, neighbors heard a thump and heard her screaming, "Oh, my God."

When those neighbors tried to get into her apartment to see what was wrong, the door slammed shut and locked.

Witnesses saw Jimenez jump off the a second-floor balcony to the first floor.

North Miami police called it a burglary. Police found Jimenez's finger print on the inside of Minas' door.

Jose Antonio Jimenez, who lived in the same building as Phyllis Minas, was convicted of murder in 1994. He was sentenced to death.

Over the years, the inmate has filed various appeals. In an appeal filed with the U.S. Supreme Court this week, Jimenez and his attorneys said detectives who investigated the case gave "false or, at best, misleading testimony" and that several key police reports were lost.

Additionally, his attorneys asked the court to stay the execution and consider whether Florida's lethal injection protocol constitutes cruel and unusual punishment that violates the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The lawyers point to the February execution of Eric Branch using the same drugs in which experts later concluded he felt significant pain, including screaming out the word "murderers" several times as he thrashed about on the gurney.

Gov. Rick Scott signed the death warrant for Jimenez last summer and scheduled the execution for August. The Supreme Court, which had issued a stay, lifted it in October.

"Mr. Jimenez has shown no remorse or repentance for his crime," Minas' nephew, Alan Pattee, wrote in a letter. "My aunt was innocent and loving, and a faithful sister to my father. His execution will allow closure to a painful memory of the vicious murder Mr. Jimenez was responsible for. My family hopes he has made peace with himself and to whatever power he may or may not believe in. We pray for his soul and feel justice has been rightfully served."

After being tried for the murder of Minas, it was learned Jimenez was a suspect in a 1990 murder in Miami Beach as well.

He pleaded guilty to the 1990 strangulation of a woman found dead inside her Miami Beach apartment and was sentenced to 17 years for that killing.

Copyright 2018 by WPLG The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.