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Florida Executes Man For Killing Woman 37 Years After The Crime

A Florida man was executed for breaking into a woman’s home and stabbing her to death in 1986, months after he was released from prison for a rape. Darryl Barwick, 56, was pronounced dead Wednesday after a lethal injection at Florida State Prison, said the office of Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Associated Press reports. Barwick said, “I can’t explain why I did what I did. It’s time to apologize to the family ... I’m sorry.” He added that Florida needs to show more compassion and kindness for people, criticizing Florida’s sentencing of teenagers to life in prison.

Barwick confessed to killing Rebecca Wendt, 24, in her Panama City apartment on March 31, 1986, after watching her sunbathing outside and following her back to her room. He said he intended to rob Wendt but killed her as she resisted, stabbing her 37 times as she tried to fight him off. There was no evidence of sexual assault, but medical examiners reported finding semen on a blanket where her body was found. Authorities linked Barwick to the crime through his confession, the semen stain, a witness who saw him heading toward and leaving Wendt’s apartment, and footprints inside and outside the apartment. The Florida Supreme Court overturned his initial convict ion in 1989 over prosecutorial misconduct. Barwick was again convicted at a 1992 retrial; the jury unanimously recommended death. The execution was the third in Florida this year after a hiatus dating to 2019. It was the state’s 102nd execution since the death penalty's reinstatement in 1976.

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