James Barnes
James Barnes Image Credit: Florida Department of Corrections/AFP

Miami: A self-confessed serial killer convicted of murdering his wife and another woman was executed by lethal injection in the southern US state of Florida on Thursday, local media reported.

James Barnes, 61, who did not seek to halt his execution, was put to death at 6pm (2200 GMT) at Florida State Prison, local television stations said.

Barnes was serving a life sentence for the 1997 murder of his wife, Linda, when he confessed to the 1988 rape and murder of Patricia Miller, a 41-year-old nurse.

He was sentenced to death in 2007 for Miller's murder.

Barnes was interviewed by German director Werner Herzog for a 2012 television series called "On Death Row" and confessed to two other murders for which he has never faced charges.

In late July, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops urged Governor Ron DeSantis to stay Barnes' execution.

"Mr. Barnes' willing acceptance of death... does not absolve the state from bringing it about," they said in a letter. "Simply put, no one should be executed in our modern penal system, even if they willingly accept it."

DeSantis, a candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, signed Barnes' death warrant and declined to stay his execution.

Barnes was the fifth inmate executed in Florida in 2023.

There have been 17 executions in the United States this year.