Florida executed convicted murderer Donald Dillbeck Thursday, the state’s first execution in more than three years and 100th since the punishment was reinstated in 1979. Photo courtesy of Florida Department of Corrections
Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Florida carried out a death sentence Thursday, the state's first execution in more than three years and the 100th since the punishment was reinstated in 1979.
Donald Dillbeck was executed by lethal injection at Florida State Prison in Raiford, prison officials confirmed in a statement.
The U.S. Supreme Court earlier in the day rejected a last-minute plea by Dillbeck's lawyers, paving the way for his execution.
The execution began at 6 p.m. EST after the 59-year-old was strapped to a gurney in the state's death chamber. He stopped breathing and was pronounced dead at 6:13 p.m. EST.
Lawyers had asked for his sentence to be commuted, arguing Dillbeck suffered from a neurobehavioral disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure, which should have exempted him from execution.
The 14th Amendment protects people with intellectual disabilities from the death penalty.
They also argued his execution would violate the Eighth Amendment, protecting convicted individuals from capital punishment if not unanimously sentenced by a jury. Eight of 12 jury members in 1995 voted to sentence Dillbeck to death.
Dillbeck was convicted of murder in the 1990 stabbing murder of Faye lamb Vann in a mall parking lot in Tallahassee, Fla. Vann was waiting for her young children at the time. Dillbeck stabbed her in the abdomen more than 20 times after she resisted his attempt to steal her car.
At the time of the murder, Dillbeck was supposed to be serving a life sentence in prison for the 1979 shooting death of deputy Dwight Lynn Hall in Lee County Florida. He was 15 years old at the time.
After spending a decade behind bars, Dillbeck escaped while out on a work detail, attempting to steal Vann's car a few days after making a getaway. After stabbing her, he crashed a short distance away and was quickly arrested.
Dillbeck was the first prisoner executed in Florida since 2019, when serial killer Gary Ray Bowles, 57, was executed by lethal injection.
He used his final word to take aim at Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla.
"I know I hurt people when I was young," Dillbeck said, before the lethal three-drug combination began flowing into his arm intravenously.
"I really messed up. But I know Ron DeSantis has done a lot worse. He's taken a lot from a lot of people. I speak for all the men, women and children, he's put his foot on our necks. Ron DeSantis and other people like him can s--k our d---s."