The Florida Supreme Court has denied a stay of execution for Robert Waterhouse, who is scheduled to be put to death next Wednesday.
In its 47-page decision, the Court rejected arguments by 65-year-old Waterhouse that he should be spared because of testimony from a newly discovered witness and the destruction of physical evidence that made it impossible to perform DNA testing that could exonerate him. The court said in part that the new evidence wouldn’t be enough to produce an acquittal if Waterhouse were retried and that there was other compelling evidence of his guilt.
“In light of Waterhouse’s incriminating statements and other evidence of his guilt, this cumulative testimony cannot ‘reasonably be taken to put the whole case in such a different light as to undermine confidence in the verdict,'” the justices wrote, quoting a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Waterhouse was convicted in the 1980 rape and murder of a 29-year-old woman in St. Petersburg. A new witness came forward recently to claim he saw Waterhouse leaving a bar with two men and not with the victim on the night she was killed.
The new witness, Leglio Sotolongo, was a doorman at the ABC Lounge at the time of the murder. He testified that he saw Waterhouse leave with two men, not the victim, on the night she was killed.
The justices pointed out that another employee offered similar but more detailed testimony, yet that did not sway the jury.
Waterhouse is scheduled to be executed next Wednesday at Florida State Prison in Starke at 6 p.m. EST.
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