Florida reaches 100 executions with lethal injection death of Donald Dillbeck

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At 6:13 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, Florida reached a grim milestone with the execution by lethal injection of Donald Dillbeck: the convicted murderer became the state’s 100th person to be put to death since the death penalty was reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976 and executions resumed in the state in 1979.

On Florida’s Death Row for 32 years, Dillbeck, 59, died strapped to gurney at Florida State Prison after a three-drug cocktail was administered through a needle just after 6 p.m.

He was convicted of the 1990 murder of Faye Lamb Vann in a Tallahassee mall parking lot after escaping from prison. 

Faye Lamb Vann's sister, Barbara Brown (far right) watches David Dillbeck being led out of the courtroom after sentencing March 15, 1991.
Faye Lamb Vann's sister, Barbara Brown (far right) watches David Dillbeck being led out of the courtroom after sentencing March 15, 1991.

Last words:Donald Dillbeck was executed by Florida. He used his last words to insult Ron DeSantis

Last meals:Here's what Gary Ray Bowles, Danny Rolling and others executed by state of Florida ate as their final meal

Death penalty in Florida: Here’s what to know about executions, death row

Who was the last person executed in Florida?

Thursday’s execution was the first in Florida in 3 ½ years, when Jacksonville serial killer Gary Ray Bowles, 57, was put to death on Aug. 22, 2019. Bowles was sentenced to die in 1996 when a Duval County jury convicted and recommended a death sentence for the murder of Walter Hinton, 42, on Nov. 20, 1994.

Hinton was one of six men killed by Bowles during an eight-month period in 1994 that began March 14, with the death of John Hardy Roberts, 59, in Daytona Beach. The other victims included David Jarman, 39, of Wheaton, Maryland; Milton Bradley, 72, of Savannah, Georgia; Alverson Carter Jr., 47, of Atlanta; Albert Alcie Morris, 37, of Hilliard; and Hinton of Jacksonville, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported. All of the victims were gay men.

Who was the first person executed in Florida?

On May 25, 1979, John Spenkelink, became the first person executed in Florida since the reinstatement of the death penalty. Spenkelink, 30, was executed by electric chair for the murder of traveling companion Joseph Syzmankiewicz in Tallahassee in 1973.

How many Death Row inmates have died by electric chair in Florida?

Since Florida resumed executions, 44 people have been put to death by electric chair, the last being Allen Lee "Tiny" Davis. The 54-year-old inmate was executed in a new electric chair on July 8, 1999, for killing a pregnant woman, Nancy Weiler, 37, and her two daughters — Kristina, one day from her 10th birthday, and Katherine, 5 — in 1983. But bleeding from Davis' nose prompted the continued examination of the effectiveness of electrocution and the subsequent switch to lethal injection.

Infamous people executed in Florida

Among some of the most recognizable people executed in Florida include Theodore Robert “Ted” Bundy, 42, by electric chair on Jan. 24, 1989, for the rape and murder of Kimberly Leach, 12, of Lake City, the last victim in a cross-country killing spree; Danny Harold Rolling, 53, by lethal injection on Oct. 25, 2006, for the killing of Sonja Larson, Christina Powell, Christa Hoyt, Manuel R. Taboada, and Tracy Inez Paules in Gainesville in 1990; and Judy Buenoano, 54, by electric chair on March 30, 1998, for poisoning her Air Force sergeant husband, James Goodyear, with arsenic in 1971. She was the first woman in Florida executed since 1848, when a freed slave was hanged in Jacksonville for killing her master.

Who was the first person executed by lethal injection in Florida?

On Feb. 23, 2000, Terry M. Sims, 58, became the first Florida inmate to be executed by lethal injection. He was sentenced to die for the 1977 death of George Pfeil, a volunteer deputy sheriff in Seminole County, in a robbery in Longwood.

How many women have been executed in Florida?

Two women have been executed in Florida since 1979:

  • Judy Buenoano, 54, by electrocution on March 30, 1998, for poisoning her husband, James Goodyear, with arsenic in 1971.

  • Aileen Wuornos, 46, by lethal injection on Oct. 9, 2002, for the deaths of six men along Central Florida highways in 1989 and 1990. She was known as America’s first female serial killer.

How many people are on Florida's Death Row?

As of Jan. 24, 2023, Florida's Department of Corrections held 301 people on Death Row, including 298 men and three women, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Executions in Florida: 100 Death Row inmates put to death since 1979