Florida executes Donald Dillbeck – after 32 years on death row and despite disagreement in sentence
On Thursday night, 59-year-old Donald Dillbeck was executed by lethal injection in the U.S. state of Florida. He was sentenced to death for assaulting and murdering a woman in her car in a supermarket parking lot in 1990.
Dillbeck was on the run at the time. He had served 11 years of a life sentence for killing a police officer, which he committed when he was 15 years old, and had escaped from a work program on relaxed parole.
Despite a previous escape attempt and assault on a fellow inmate, Dillbeck was in a low-security prison before committing the 1990 murder.
The death sentence was imposed by a jury vote of 8 to 4. That rule is now unconstitutional. In his final words, Dillbeck stated, “I know I hurt people when I was young. I really screwed up.”
An online petition said of him, “The Donald Dillbeck of today is not the same person he was when he committed the crime that put him on death row. Donald is active in the Unconditional Freedom Project, which helps people transform the experience of incarceration from a mere punishment into something truly restorative.
Donald has become a teacher and mentor and writes a column in their newsletter. Donald is not a danger in prison – on the contrary, he is a symbol of peace, love and reconciliation. He accepts that he will never be free, and hopes that he can continue to make a positive impact on prisoners.”
It was the first execution in Florida in more than three years and the one hundredth since the death penalty was reinstated in the U.S. in the 1970s.