Execution of serial killer scheduled for Thursday evening
By Anne Geggis
Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 7:56 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 7:56 a.m.
Thursday's scheduled execution of convicted serial killer David Alan Gore's would reduce the number of inmates sitting on Florida's death row to 399.
Nancy Byer, of Asheville, N.C., said that she will be there, hoping this ending gives her some release from the 29-year agony she's lived with since her 14-year-old daughter, Barbara Byer, died at Gore's hands.
“We're glad it's come to this,” she said. “We're ready.”
Gore, 58, is scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. Thursday at Florida State Prison for the 1983 first-degree murder of Vero Beach teenager Lynn Elliot. He has pleaded guilty to the killing of Byer, two other teenage girls and two women he abducted, tortured and killed between 1981 and 1983 in Vero Beach with the help of his cousin Fred Waterfield, 59, who is serving life in prison.
On Tuesday, Gore's lawyers asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block his execution on the grounds that federal courts must hear his claim of receiving ineffective legal assistance. The appeal is based on the same claim the state Supreme Court rejected on Monday.
Gore's lawyers did not return a call seeking comment.
Gore's is the fourth death warrant that Gov. Rick Scott has signed. The governor signed it one month after meeting with the editorial board of Treasure Coast Newspapers, who asked Scott about Gore's case, drawing the governor's attention to Gore's own words in the book “The Serial Killer Whisperer,” which was published earlier this year.
In the book, former Washington Post writer Peter Earley recounts the case of Tony Ciaglia, who wrote to Gore and other serial killers after he suffered a severe head injury. Ciaglia wanted to better understand them, Earley explains, and received about 200 pages from Gore beginning in 2007.
In the opening pages of the book, Earley quotes from Gore's letters that allude to Gore enjoying “the fruits of our labor.”
Russ Lemmon, a columnist on the Treasure Coast Newspapers' editorial board, said he believes the book put Gore's case on the governor's radar.
“I think you'd be hard-pressed to find someone with more heinous crimes on death row,” Lemmon said. “And there's no doubt he did it.”
Part of Gore's appeal to the state Supreme Court, though, says that the governor opted to sign Gore's death warrant because of the newspaper's editorial — a claim the court does not address. But Gov. Rick Scott's office said the editorial and the book were simply coincidental to Thursday's scheduled execution.
“There are several people on death row, they are scheduled to receive the death penalty and Gov. Scott has a constitutional duty to sign the death warrant,” said Lane Wright, the governor's spokesman. “He didn't read the book.”
Byer, however, is just looking for this chapter to close, so she doesn't have to think about David Alan Gore anymore … and so she can remember more about her daughter's 14 years of life.
“She was in the gifted program, friendly,” Byer said. “She was good with children. She was good with adults. She took dance. She played in the band … clarinet.
“She was a 14-year-old.”
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