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June 16, 2023

Florida completes its fourth execution of 2023 of a man who spent nearly 40 years on death row

Though 2023 is not yet half over, Florida has now completed more executions this year than the state has in any single year since 2014.  This AP article reports on the state's fourth execution of the year, and here are some of the details:

A Florida man was executed Thursday for killing a 14-year-old babysitter and a 38-year-old mother of two in separate attacks months apart in 1984 while children were sleeping in the homes he targeted.

Duane Owen was pronounced dead at 6:14 p.m. after a lethal injection at Florida State Prison, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office. One of Florida’s longest-held death row inmates, Owen was 23 at the time of the attacks and 62 when he was executed....

Owen was sentenced to death for the March 24, 1984, rape and fatal stabbing of Karen Slattery, 14, and for the rape and deadly hammer attack two months later on Georgianna Worden, 38. Both killings occurred in Palm Beach County. Authorities said Owen attacked two other women in Palm Beach County who survived.  All four attacks occurred just before and after Owen’s 23rd birthday. Of the more than 290 people on Florida’s death row, Owen was one of the longest held there....

It was Florida’s fourth execution this year after a hiatus in which there were none since 2019. Gov. DeSantis, a Republican, signed each of the death warrants in the months before announcing he was running for president....

Owen’s lawyers had argued that he shouldn’t be executed on grounds of insanity. The state Supreme Court rejected his latest appeal last week and the U.S. Supreme Court rejected it Wednesday. Owen’s lawyers had also argued that he was schizophrenic and suffered from delusions.

Prosecutors had argued that while Owen had mental health issues, nothing would preclude his being executed because he was aware it was punishment for his crimes. Psychiatrists for the state testified that Owen’s schizophrenia was an act that he discussed when being evaluated, but he otherwise showed no signs of the illness.

And while the defense had argued Owen had dementia and gender dysphoria, psychiatrists for the state said Owen had a good memory, didn’t appear to present himself as female and that gender dysphoria doesn’t make people more aggressive or cause delusional thinking. They said instead that Owen was sexually sadistic, according to court records.

June 16, 2023 at 07:17 AM | Permalink


1. "Gender dysphoria" now?? Well I guess it is all the latest. The defense bar does keep up.

2. A 40 year delay is inexcusable. Once the killer has had his direct appeal and his habeas, and it's clear that there is no sensible case that we have the wrong guy, the sentence should be carried out forthwith. A delay of that length is just a neon sign that we're not serious.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 16, 2023 12:21:10 PM

One thing is true, if he had “gender dysphoria” then he was definitely mentally ill.

Florida should “plead insanity,” for taking 40 years to execute him.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jun 16, 2023 5:31:39 PM

Florida should “plead insanity,” for taking 40 years to execute him. Can't plead that now--Florida is obviously sane given its embrace of Ron DeSantis. Sorry defendergirl, I meant Ron DeathSantis.

Posted by: federalist | Jun 16, 2023 6:27:37 PM

The ACLU is now condemning Florida for not providing him “gender affirming healthcare,” which is an oxymoron.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jun 18, 2023 4:26:38 PM

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