DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Serial sex killer Gerald Eugene Stano, claiming he is a compulsive confessor, today recanted his confession to the murders of two cocktail waitresses and asked his trial judge to stay his execution Tuesday.
Appearing before Volusia County Circuit Judge James Foxman, Stano said he did not kill Susan Bickrest in December 1975 and Mary Kathleen Muldoon in November 1977. Stano, who is scheduled to die in the Florida electric chair at 7 a.m. Tuesday, originally confessed to the murders.
Death row inmates usually do not appear during appeals for a stay of execution but Stano was brought to the courtroom early today from death row at the Florida State Prison for the hearing.
Stano, 35, claims to have killed 41 women in a cross-country murder spree that stretched from Pennsylvania to New Jersey to Florida. Court records indicate several of Stano's victims were hitchhikers whom he picked up and later killed after they refused to have sex with him.
If Foxman denies the appeal, Stano's lawyers would next have to go the the Florida Supreme Court to try to stop the execution.
Muldoon, a cocktail waitress from Ormond Beach, died from a gunshot wound to the head and drowning. Her body was discovered in a ditch in New Smyrna Beach.
Bickrist, a 19-year-old barmaid, died from strangulation and drowning. Her body was discovered in a creek near Port Orange one day after she disappeared from her Daytona Beach home.
Stano is on his first warrant for the Bickrest and Muldoon murders. He has been convicted of 10 murders in Florida and was sentenced to die for three.
He had been scheduled to be executed with Ted Bundy July 3 for the 1973 murder of Cathy Lee Scharf in Daytona Beach, but both he and Bundy received last-minute stays.
Stano also has admitted the 1969 murders of two teenagers whose bodies were found along the Garden State Parkway in southwest New Jersey. He also claims to have killed 'two to four' hitchhikers in the Bucks County, Pa., area between 1969 and 1971.
Walter Gale Steinhorst had been scheduled to die Tuesday with Stano for the murder of three Bay County residents who stumbled onto a drug smuggling operation but was granted an indefinite stay last week by the Florida Supreme Court.