"Man Set to Be Executed by Lethal Injection," is the AP report by Kelli Kennedy. It's via the Lakeland Ledger.
William Van Poyck argues he doesn't deserve to be executed for the murder of prison guard Fred Griffis, insisting he didn't fire the fatal shots. Griffis' family said even if that's true, it doesn't matter -- they say he planned the botched 1987 attempt to free an inmate Griffis was escorting to a dermatologist and made sure he and his partner were armed.
Van Poyck, 58, is scheduled to die by lethal injection today at Florida State Prison in Starke, the second of three executions scheduled within four weeks.
In his appeals, Van Poyck has argued that his partner, Frank Valdes, fired the fatal shots and that if the jury had known that, he wouldn't have been sentenced to death. The Florida Supreme Court last week rejected his latest appeal involving Valdes' widow, who says her husband told her he was the shooter. The justices noted that Van Poyck planned the escape attempt and he and Valdes carried loaded weapons. Courts have rejected similar arguments in the past, including one from a former inmate who also said Valdes confessed to killing Griffis.
Van Poyck "was in on the escape but he didn't know the other guy was going to kill anybody," said Gerald Bettman, his attorney.
The Orlando Sentinel Religion blog posts, "Prayer service Wednesday on scheduled execution of Van Poyck," by Jeff Kunerth.
A prayer service to abolish the death penalty will be held at 4 p.m., Wednesday, June 12, at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, 526 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, on the scheduled execution of William Van Poyck.
The service, open to the public, will be led by Father Richard Walsh, pastor of St. Margaret Mary.community.
Florida's Catholic bishops have written a letter to Gov. Rick Scott to stop executions and eliminate the death penalty.
"We urge you to see that the death penalty diminishes us all and contributes to a growing disrespect for the sacredness of all human life. It perpetuates a cycle of violence and feeds on an underlying sense of vengeance in our culture. Human life, given by God, is sacred," the letter said.
Florida has carried out two executions in 2013. To date, there have been 13 executions in American death penalty states this year; a total of 1,333 post-Furman executions since 1977.
Earlier coverage from Florida begins at the link.