A US man convicted of a 1990 stabbing murder has been executed in Florida, authorities said, the first capital sentence carried out in the southeastern state in more than three years.
Donald Dillbeck had spent the last 32 years on death row after killing a woman in a parking lot in 1990 while already on the run for the murder of a police officer in 1979, when he was 15, local media reported.
Dillbeck was executed via lethal injection Thursday evening, the Florida Department of Corrections said.
The US Supreme Court had refused his lawyers’ last-minute plea for a stay Wednesday.
The family of Faye Lamb Vann, the woman killed in a Tallahassee mall parking lot, attended the execution Thursday, and thanked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for approving the sentence.
DeSantis signed off on Dillbeck’s execution the same day he proposed making capital punishment easier in his state by lowering the number of jury votes necessary to approve such a sentence, the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reported.
Dillbeck used his final words to hit out at DeSantis, a conservative Republican considered a potential 2024 presidential contender.
“I know I hurt people when I was young. I really messed up,” the Tallahassee Democrat reported Dillbeck as saying.
“But I know Ron DeSantis has done a lot worse. He’s taken a lot from a lot of people.”
Dillbeck is the seventh person to be executed in the United States so far this year and the 100th person in Florida since 1976, when the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty.