Saturday, June 23, 2012

Florida executes serial killer

The 13th Execution of 2012

A Florida death row inmate, David Alan Gore,  was put to death on April 12, 2012, nearly three decades after the murder of a 17-year-old, whose failed escape attempt ended a string of rapes and slayings that shook the quiet coastal town of Vero Beach.

Gore was pronounced dead at 6:19 p.m. after receiving an injection at the Florida State Prison, according to The Associated Press.

Asked if he had a final statement, Gore said as he lay strapped to a gurney: "Yes, I do."

Addressing the family of his 17-year-old victim Lynn Elliott, Gore said, "I want to say to the Elliott family, I am sorry for the death of your daughter. I am not the man I was back then, 28 years ago. I am a Christian. Christ lives within me. I hope you all can find peace today."

Making no eye contact with the family, he added that he hoped the family could "find it in their hearts to forgive me" and concluded: "I don't fear death."

Family members of the victim watched as the drugs began flowing but made no immediate statement as they left after the execution was carried out, according to the AP.

Outside, seven people waited in a section cordoned off for the victims' supporters. They knew the execution was finished when they spotted vans carrying witnesses from the prison.

George Byer, uncle of victim Barbara Ann Byer, turned away and sighed.

"I don't know how I feel, really," George Byer told the AP. "There's never any closure. You can't explain how it affects your life."

In all, Gore killed four teenage girls and two women, authorities say. Elliott's murder was the only one for which he was sentenced to death.

Elliott's parents had said as the execution time approached that this was the day they have been waiting for — a date many thought should have come years ago, considering there was no doubt he committed the crimes and he had shown no remorse for the killings.

"For us it's been a nightmare, because I just turned 81. I was beginning to think that I might die before he went," Carl Elliott, the girl's father, told the AP.

On July 26, 1983, Gore and his cousin Fred Waterfield picked up Lynn Elliott and her 14-year-old friend hitchhiking to Wabasso Beach north of Vero Beach. They took them at gunpoint to Gore's parents' house. Waterfield left and Gore raped the girls, who were bound in separate rooms.

Elliott freed her legs and ran naked from the house, hands still tied behind her back. Gore, also naked, chased her, dragged her back toward the house as she kicked and screamed and then shot her twice in the head. Police were called after a boy witnessed the murder. Gore was caught and the other girl rescued, according to the AP.

After his arrest, Gore admitted to killing three other girls and two women and led authorities to the bodies of four of the victims. He was sentenced to life in prison for the other murders.

According to the AP, Gore was arrested in July 1981 after being found in the back seat of a woman's car. He was shirtless and had a cocktail in one hand and a gun in the other. He also had handcuffs, rope and a police scanner. Gore was sentenced to five years in prison, though he was paroled and served only about a year-and-a-half. He soon began killing again.

In May 1983, Gore and Waterfield picked up two 14-year-old hitchhikers, Barbara Ann Byer and Angelica LaVallee. The girls were raped, killed and dismembered. While Gore says Waterfield was his partner throughout the killing spree, this was the only case that earned Waterfield a murder conviction. He is serving back-to-back life sentences.

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