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Florida Execution For 1990 Stabbing State's First In Nearly Four Years

Florida executed a man on Thursday for murdering a woman in 1990 after he escaped from prison, stabbing her to death in a shopping mall parking lot in an attempted carjacking, reports the Associated Press. Donald Dillbeck, 59, had been convicted in the murder of Faye Vann, 44, in Tallahassee near the state Capitol. The execution was Florida’s first in nearly four years and the third under Gov. Ron DeSantis. His immediate predecessor, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), oversaw 28 executions. Vann’s children, Tony and Laura, said after the execution that, “11,932 days ago, Donald Dillbeck brutally killed our Mother. We were robbed of years of memories with her, and it has been very painful ever since.” Asked if he had any last words, Dillbeck said, “I know I hurt people when I was young. I really messed up.” He also criticized DeSantis.


Dillbeck was 11 years into a life sentence for killing a deputy when he walked away from a work release assignment catering a meal for a seniors event. He bought a paring knife and walked to Tallahassee. Vann was waiting for her family when Dillbeck approached her car with the knife and demanded a ride, saying he’d forgot how to drive. Vann honked the horn, tried to drive off and fought back, but Dillbeck stabbed her more than 20 times and slit her throat. He crashed the car a short time later and was captured after running from the scene. Despite a prior escape attempt and an assault on another prisoner, Dillbeck had been placed in a minimum security facility. A furious Gov. Bob Martinez fired three corrections officials and sought to implement rules to ensure prisoners with life sentences would be held in more secure settings. Florida’s Supreme Court denied appeals claiming Dillbeck shouldn’t be put to death because he suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome and it was cruel and unusual to keep him on death row for more than 30 years before his death warrant was signed. The U.S. Supreme Court denied his appeals.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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