Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-F.L., and his rising political career is on a lot of minds — so much that a death row inmate used his last statement to curse the rising Republican Party star.
It seems DeSantis, one of the frontrunners in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, and his “tough-on-crime” approach to law and order is loathed by murderers and thieves.
One conservative commentator called it the “stuff of legends.”
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Murderer Donald Dillbeck was executed Thursday for stabbing a woman, Faye Lamb Vann, to death in a mall parking lot in 1990.
The execution was Florida’s first in nearly four years and the third under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Vann’s children, Tony and Laura, released a statement after the execution: “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.”
They thanked DeSantis for carrying out the execution, saying it “has given us some closure.”
The curtain between the death chamber and the viewing room opened at 6 p.m. Thursday. When asked if he had any last words, Dillbeck didn’t express remorse to the families he’d ripped apart.
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He didn’t ask for God’s forgiveness.
Instead, Dillbeck used his last words to curse the governor that authorized his execution.
I know I hurt people when I was young. I really messed up. But I know Ron DeSantis has done a lot worse. He’s taken a lot from a lot of people. I speak for all men, women and children. He’s put his foot on our necks. Ron DeSantis and other people like him can suck our d**ks.
Dillbeck was 15 when he stabbed a man in Indiana while trying to steal a CB radio, court records show. He fled to Florida, where Lee County Deputy Dwight Lynn Hall found him in a Fort Myers Beach parking lot. While Hall was searching him, Dillbeck hit the deputy in the groin and ran. Hall tackled him and, as the two wrestled, Dillbeck took Hall’s gun and shot him to death.
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Dillbeck was 11 years into a life sentence for killing the deputy when he escaped from a work release assignment catering a meal for a seniors event, according to court records. He then 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 forgotten how to drive, court records show.
Vann honked the horn, tried to drive off, and fought back that Sunday afternoon, but Dillbeck stabbed her more than 20 times and slit her throat, court records show. 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 Republican 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 earlier this month denied appeals claiming he 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 Wednesday.
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Dillbeck, 59, was pronounced dead at 6:13 p.m. on Thursday after receiving a lethal injection at Florida State Prison, the governor’s office said.
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article