update april 6, source : http://news.smh.com.au
Serial killer’s letters speed up execution
Serial killer David Alan Gore is set to be executed sooner than he expected, in part because he could not stop bragging about raping and murdering four teenagers and two women in Florida three decades ago.
An author published the inmate’s grotesque letters, and a newspaper columnist and editorial board brought the case to the attention of Florida Governor Rick Scott. The Republican promptly signed the death warrant, even though more than 40 other men have been on death row longer.
Gore is set to die on April 12.
“Those letters are so disturbing and so insightful into who this person is,” said Pete Earley, who recently published some of the letters in his book Serial Killer Whisperer. “Gore, actually, he talked his way into the death chamber.”
Tony Ciaglia wrote to Gore and other serial killers on a whim after suffering a severe head injury as teenager, in an effort to better understand them.
He began exchanging letters with Gore about five years ago and received about 200 pages in all. Most in the book are too graphic to quote. In one, Gore described step-by-step how he and his cousin abducted two 14-year-old friends and sexually assaulted them.
“I drug both bodies into the woods where I disposed of them. Oh and you can believe, I collected hair. It took a couple days to recover from that. It was a perfect experience,” Gore wrote.
In another letter, Gore described his uncontrollable desire to kill.
“It’s sort of along the lines as being horny. You start getting horny and it just keeps building until you have to get some relief,” Gore wrote. “That is the same with the URGE to kill. It usually starts out slow and builds and you will take whatever chances necessary to satisfy it. And believe me, you constantly think about getting caught, but the rush is worth the risk.”
Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers columnist Russ Lemmon, who has written about the Gore case, published a column for a few Florida newspapers on the day the editorial board had an interview with the governor. They talked about the book.
The board asked Scott if he had considered signing Gore’s death warrant. The governor promised to look into it.
Meanwhile, letters poured into Scott’s office, many of them mentioning the prison correspondence.
“Pete Earley provides compelling evidence that David Gore relishes every detail of his heinous murders,” wrote Ralph Sexton, whose nephew was married to one of the women killed.
About a month after the editorial board meeting, Scott signed Gore’s death warrant.
Gore’s lawyers are now appealing, arguing in part that the governor’s decision to sign the warrant was unfairly influenced by the editorial board.
A spokeswoman for Scott said he had not read the book.
Ciaglia said Gore blamed him after the death warrant was signed. Ciaglia said he is opposed to the death penalty.
“I told him that I did not actively pursue it. That there’s a lot of people – because you did some really, really bad things – there’s a lot of people that hate you and they want to see you executed and they used these letters to get people’s attention as to the horrible crimes that you committed,” Ciaglia said.
“The only person you can blame is Gore himself,” Earley said. “His candour and his lack of compassion, empathy and remorse is stomach-churning.”
Update april 5, source : http://www.wptv.com
At 6 p.m., the 81-year-old plans to be sitting next to loved ones in a viewing area at Florida State Prison when a lethal cocktail is administered to the now 58-year-old serial killer who raped and killed Elliott’s 17-year-old daughter, Lynn, in Vero Beach in 1983. David Alan Gore, who picked up Lynn Elliott and a 14-year-old friend who were hitchhiking to the beach, later confessed to murdering five other women and received five life sentences.
“We’ve been patiently waiting for this after all these years. We miss her everyday,” Elliott said. “We’re ready to go up there and see it done.”
Whether Elliott and his family will finally see Gore die for murdering the teen now rests with the Florida Supreme Court.
And, thanks to a two-week-old U.S. Supreme Court decision, the options facing the state’s high court aren’t clear-cut. In arguments Wednesday, an attorney representing Gore urged justices not to make a snap judgment in his case.
“It effects not just Mr. Gore and not just Death Row inmates,” attorney Martin McClain said of the high court’s recent decision. It will impact hundreds of inmates who were convicted of far lesser crimes than murder, he said.
He urged the justices to stay Gore’s planned execution to give attorneys throughout the state the chance to weigh in on what one justice called a “troubling” ruling that allows inmates to return to court after their initial appeals to argue that their attorneys did a bad job. Since claims of ineffective assistance of counsel aren’t allowed until after a case goes through standard appeals, some claim the ruling could pave the way for court-appointed attorneys to represent prisoners after their initial appeals have been exhausted.
In Gore’s case, McClain argued, he had not just one bad attorney but two. Stuart attorney Robert Udell, who gained fame in Palm Beach County when he represented teacher-killer Nathaniel Brazill in 2001 and was subsequently disbarred for financial misdeeds, made numerous errors when he represented Gore in a 1992 resentencing hearing, McClain said. For instance, he failed to tell the jury about Gore’s alcohol, drug abuse and mental health problems or that chances were slim that he would ever be released if he received life in prison.
Another attorney, Andrew Graham, in 1999 argued that Udell’s incompetence caused a second jury to recommend Gore receive the death penalty instead of a life sentence. But Udell denied he was at fault. Udell blamed another attorney, Jerome Nickerson, who he claimed was the lead attorney during Gore’s resentencing. However, Graham never found Nickerson, who had moved out of state, which gave him little ammunition in the appeal that was rejected by the Florida Supreme Court in 2007.
As evidence of Graham’s incompetence, McClain said he was able to find Nickerson with a quick Google search. The discovery of Nickerson is new evidence that should, as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision, give Gore another basis for appeal, he said.
Justices appeared less than enamored with McClain’s efforts to use the recent decision to spare Gore.
Justice Barbara Pariente said the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Arizona case involving convicted sex offender Luis Mariano Martinez is aimed at federal courts.
“It has everything to do with the nightmare that’s going to be created in the federal system,” she said of the opportunity for inmates to flood courts with appeals. “It has nothing to do with what states are forced to look at.”
Further, she said, McClain has had years to find Nickerson and lodge an appeal. McClain countered that, until the Martinez decision, he had no way to challenge Graham’s incompetence.
Justice Peggy Quince said “the language of Martinez is really troubling” and it appears the ruling is far-reaching.
Assistant Florida attorney general Celia Terenzio said there is no reason to delay Gore’s execution. Even if Udell or Graham didn’t represent Gore well, the Florida Supreme Court in 2007 said their actions didn’t spur the jury to recommend that he be sentenced to death. “There was no prejudice,” she said.
Further, she said, the Martinez decision is very narrow, applying to people whose appeals were blocked on procedural grounds. Gore has had numerous appeals since he was first sent to Death Row in 1984, including one for ineffective assistance of counsel, which was rejected. Also, she said, the high court didn’t say people have a constitutional right to be represented by an attorney in post-conviction appeals, only that in certain cases it may be necessary.
In death penalty cases, Florida always provides inmates with appellate lawyers for post-conviction appeals, she said.
Court-watchers said the decision facing the Florida Supreme Court’s is difficult.
“The Florida Supreme Court is going to have to look at this as a new ruling without any guidance for how it’s going
to be interpreted,” said attorney Michael Minerva, CEO of the Innocence Project of Florida. “The prudent thing to do would be to get additional time to figure out how it applies to Florida courts.”
Richard Dieter, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center, agreed. “It wouldn’t be the first time an execution has been stayed because the Supreme Court surprises people with a decision.
Read more: click here
Update march 29 source :http://www.tcpalm.com
The state Supreme Court on Thursday granted a request by David Alan Gore to hold oral arguments Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the condemned man’s appeal of a court ruling that recently denied him a hearing.
Gore’s lawyers on Monday appealed to the Florida Supreme Court an order issued by Circuit Judge Dan L. Vaughn that denied the serial killer’s request for a hearing to present evidence related to legal claims raised in an effort to stop his April 12 execution.
Gore’s legal claims center on allegations of having inadequate legal counsel during his post-conviction relief proceedings. He’s further claimed his execution should be stopped in part because the clemency process in his case was applied in an arbitrary and capricious manner in violation of his U.S. constitutional rights. Another claim alleged that because of the 28 years Gore has spent on death row, adding his execution to that punishment would constitute cruel and unusual punishment
Update march 28, source : http://www.tcpalm.c
As gores’s execution nears, family of victim reflects on loss, changes
Mike and Nancy Byer left Florida in 1988 in search of a fresh start.
“I wanted to go where nobody knew me, and I didn’t know anybody,” Mike said.
Who could blame them?
Just five years earlier, their 14-year-old daughter, Barbara Ann, was killed by Fred Waterfield and David Alan Gore. Her friend, Angel LaVallee, also was killed.
Mike was the last person to see Barbie alive. She was standing outside a 7-Eleven in Orlando. (Mike was driving a service vehicle for his truck-repair business when he passed by the convenience store.)
Later, on the streets of Orlando, the teenage girls — who met while attending Howard Junior High School — would cross paths with Indian River County’s infamous serial killers.
“Gore and Waterfield were hunters,” Nancy said. “They went out for prey.”
Update march 21 source :http://www.tcpalm.com
Attorneys representing David Alan Gore on Wednesday filed papers with the state Supreme Court appealing a judge’s ruling denying the condemned serial killer a chance to present evidence in court in an effort to stop his execution April 12 at Florida State Prison.
Gore was condemned to death for the July 1983 shooting death of Vero Beach teenagerLynn Elliott. He also pleaded guilty in the murder of five other women in Indian River County between 1981 and 1983.
Appeal papers filed by defense attorneys John Abatecola and Linda McDermott ask the Florida Supreme Court to review Circuit Judge Dan L. Vaughn’s March 15 rulings, which rejected Gore’s request to hold an evidentiary hearing, and refused to set aside his sentence of death.
The Florida Supreme Court already has issued an expedited schedule in Gore’s case, setting a deadline of April 2 for legal briefs to be filed. Oral arguments, if required by the justices, will be held April 4 in Tallahassee.
read Gore’s case click here