Florida executes death row inmate for 1989 homicide

Florida executes death row inmate for 1989 homicide

The state of Florida (U.S.) executed this Wednesday Louis Bernard Gaskin56, for a double homicide he committed in 1989, for which he was sentenced to death without a unanimous jury.

Gaskin was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m. local time. after receiving a lethal injection at the Florida State Prison, located in Raiford, according to the state Department of Corrections.

They are the second execution to be carried out in Florida so far this year and after exhausting all appeals filed by the defense for a stay of execution, including one filed on April 6 before the U.S. Supreme Court, which was rejected.

This execution comes six weeks after prisoner Donald Dillbeck59, was executed for two first-degree murders, the first committed with a firearm in 1979, when he was a minor, and the other by stabbing in 1990.

Should the execution of Darryl B. Barwick, whose death sentence was signed on April 4 by the governor of Florida, will be carried out in three weeks, Republican Ron DeSantis, it would be the shortest period in which three executions have been carried out in the state since 2014, under Governor Rick Scott, also a Republican.

It is also the third execution to be carried out in Florida. since 2019 (between 2020 and 2022 there were none) and the 101st since capital punishment was reinstated in this state in 1976.

Nicknamed the ninja assassin

Gaskin, nicknamed the ninja assassin (ninja killer) because he wore black ninja attire when committing the crimes.was sentenced to death for the December 20, 1989 murder of Robert Sturmfels, 56, and Georgette Sturmfels, 55, whom he shot with a rifle at the victims’ home in Flagler County, in the northeastern part of the state.

Police found at Gaskin’s home, who confessed to being the perpetrator of the murdersHe confessed that he had stolen money, jewelry and objects from the victims’ home, which he intended to give as Christmas gifts to his girlfriend at the time.

The top Floridian court also dismissed Gaskin’s defense claim of a “partially unconstitutional” death sentence, in view of the lack of unanimity in the jury’s recommendation (8 in favor of execution and 4 against).

From 2017, jury unanimity required in Florida for a judge to hand down the death penalty, which is in line with the U.S. Supreme Court, which considers conviction by simple majority unconstitutional, as was the case with Gaskin.

The Florida Supreme Court noted that a retroactive standard was not applicable in this case of the Hurst decisionwhich led to the mandatory unanimity of the jury for capital punishment in this state, where there are currently more than 300 convicts on “death row”, three of them women.

In 2020, the Florida Supreme ruled that unanimous jury recommendations were not required to sentence defendants to death in murder cases.

190 released from death row

Since 1973, more than 190 people have been released from death row in the U.S. because of evidence of their innocenceFlorida, with 30 exonerated from capital punishment, was the state with the highest number, followed by Illinois (22) and Texas (16).

The executed man had his last meal at 9:45 a.m. local time on Wednesday and was served a menu consisting of barbecued pork ribspork and turkey, chicken wings, shrimp fried rice and french fries, according to local media.

Before execution, an inmate may request a last meal. To avoid “extravagances,” notes this Florida state agency on its website, “the meal to prepare should cost no more than $40 and must be purchased locally”.

Kayleigh Williams