Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Florida executes killer 26 years after murder

The 15th Execution of 2013

Lying on an execution gurney, his arms outstretched, his body covered by a white sheet, William Van Poyck uttered his last words: “Set me free," reported The Palm Beach Post.

Roughly 20 minutes later – 7:24 p.m. on June 5, 2013 — he was declared dead by a white-coated physician who put his stethoscope to Van Poyck’s chest three times to make sure a lethal cocktail of drugs had done its job and his heart had stopped beating.

Steve Turner, a former Glades Correctional Institution prison guard, was with Fred Griffis on June 24, 1987 when Van Poyck and Valdes ambushed their prison transport van to free a convicted murderer who was being brought to a dermatologist on North Olive Avenue in West Palm Beach for treatment. Griffis was killed and Turner was grazed by a bullet in the ensuing mayhem when the two ex-cons realized their plan to free their buddy had failed.

“He was very much at peace and serene,” Lisa Van Poyck said of her three-hour final visit with her brother. “He said, ‘Lisa, I’m ready to move on and do something different.’ I’m sure my mother and father will meet him on the other side with open arms.”

Shortly after the leader of the execution team announced, “the preparation phase has ended and the execution phase will begin,” Van Poyck opened his eyes, lifted his head and nodded toward those watching through a glass wall. He did it again, his mouth curling up slightly.

Then, he closed his eyes and didn’t open them again. The head of the execution team shook him slightly about nine minutes into the process. Veteran death watch observers said it was to assure the first batch of drugs, a sedative delivered intravenously, had rendered him unconscious. Then, according to protocol, the second and third drugs, which ultimately stopped his heart, were pumped into his bloodstream. He showed no discomfort.

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