TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida prisoner is set to be executed on Thursday, marking the state’s first execution since 2019.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court declined to block the execution of Donald Dillbeck, who has been on death row since 1990.
Dillbeck was convicted of first degree murder for killing a woman in Tallahassee when he escaped from prison in 1990. He was already serving a life sentence for killing a deputy in 1979.
Dillbeck’s attorneys argued that he should be exempt from the execution due to neurobehavior problems resulting from Prenatal Alcohol Exposure, according to a report from The Hill. They also argued the eighth amendment – which protects against cruel and unusual punishment – should apply to Dillbeck because the death sentence was not recommended by a unanimous jury.
Since 2017, Florida law has required a unanimous jury to sentence people to death. The law only required a simple majority to recommend the death penalty when Dillbeck was sentenced.
Laws surrounding the death penalty in Florida have come into question recently, with Gov. Ron DeSantis proposing legislation to change the requirements for a death sentence earlier this month.
In DeSantis’ words, the proposal “makes it more feasible to administer ultimate justice to those facing the death penalty.” The proposed changes came after Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz was spared by a divided jury in Nov. 2022.
Dillbeck’s execution is scheduled for Thursday at 6:00 p.m.
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