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April 12, 2023

Florida complete its 100th modern execution ... of double murderer 34 years after crime

As reported in this AP article, "Florida executed a man known as the “ninja killer” on Wednesday for the 1989 slayings of a couple visiting the state from New Jersey." Here is more:

Louis Bernard Gaskin, 56, was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m. after receiving a lethal injection, the governor’s office said. He was convicted of killing Robert Sturmfels, 56, and Georgette Sturmfels, 55, on Dec. 20, 1989, in their Flagler County winter home on Florida’s northeastern coast....

The execution, scheduled for 6 p.m., started without delay.  When asked if he had any final statement, Gaskin said: “Justice is not about the crime. It’s not about the criminal. It’s about the law.”  Gaskin then referred to the legal proceedings surrounding his case and the appeals and finished his statement saying, “Look at my case.”...

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has been signing death warrants at a rapid pace this year as he prepares his widely expected presidential campaign.  He oversaw only two executions in his first four years in office, both in 2019.

This execution came six weeks after Donald Dillbeck, 59, was put to death for the 1990 murder of Faye Vann, 44, in Tallahassee, and three weeks before the scheduled execution of Darryl B. Barwick for slaying Rebecca Wendt, 24, in 1986 in Panama City.  Barring any stays for Barwick, it will be the shortest period that three executions have been carried out in Florida since three were put to death within 36 days in 2014 under former Gov. Rick Scott, also a Republican.

Gaskin’s death marked the state’s 100th execution since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976. There are an additional 297 people on Florida’s death row, which is located at Florida State Prison, about 40 miles southwest of Jacksonville.

Gaskin, who was dubbed the “ninja killer” because he wore all-black ninja clothing during the crimes, shot his victims with a .22-caliber rifle, investigators said.  He was convicted of first-degree murder.  Property that he stole from the Sturmfels’ home — a clock, two lamps and a videocassette recorder — was found at his residence and were intended to be Christmas gifts for his girlfriend, according to investigators.  He was also convicted of armed robbery, burglary and the attempted murder that same night of another couple who lived nearby....

Jurors voted 8-4 in 1990 to recommend the death sentence, which the judge accepted.  Florida law now requires a unanimous jury vote for capital punishment, although the Legislature could send DeSantis a bill this week that would allow 8-4 jury recommendations for capital punishment.  The state and U.S. supreme courts have rejected appeals Gaskin filed since his death warrant was signed.  The latest denial came Tuesday.

April 12, 2023 at 10:02 PM | Permalink


DeSantis '24!!! Two huge advantages: (1) He's not Donald; (2) He's not Joe.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 12, 2023 10:49:38 PM

Justice, finally.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 13, 2023 7:24:38 AM

Bill Otis is right: DeSantis is smug, arrogant, nasty, and cruel. Perfect for 2024.

Posted by: anon2 | Apr 13, 2023 4:21:48 PM

anon2 --

DeSantis won a 19-point landslide in the quintessential swing state (see Bush v. Gore) over a former Governor. Your opinion seems not to be widely shared by Floridians.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 13, 2023 4:47:38 PM


Sounds like you are describing Obama.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Apr 13, 2023 5:01:05 PM

Bill Otis writes that my opinion "seems not to be widely shared by Floridians." He's absolutely right. Floridians like their leaders to be "smug, arrogant, nasty, and cruel."

Posted by: anon2 | Apr 13, 2023 10:24:51 PM


It is now a contest between a candidate who is smug, nasty, arrogant and cruel, and Ron DeSantis. How will Floridians ever decide?

Posted by: SG | Apr 13, 2023 10:55:06 PM

Off topic, will no one rid us of this corrupt Justice Thomas?

Posted by: Dave from Texas | Apr 13, 2023 11:27:05 PM

I believe Louis Gaskin was the 101th execution in Florida!

Posted by: Barry | Apr 17, 2023 8:49:13 AM

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