Roundup of headlines from Florida’s death row:
- Kalisz Sentenced to Death in Hernando murders: A man convicted of killing a deputy and two other women is headed to Florida’s death row. John Kalisz went on a multi-county shooting spree in January 2010. When it was over, his sister and her friend were dead and two other women were seriously injured. After that shooting in Brooksville, Kalisz headed north, where he got into a shootout with Dixie County deputies. One the deputies was also killed.
- Jury Recommends Death for McCloud: Robert “Bam” McCloud sat down in a chair. He shook his head slightly as 12 jurors revealed Friday that a majority, 8-4, thought he should die. He wiped away a tear then let out a deep breath. Earlier this week, the 30-year-old Apopka man was found guilty of participating in a 2009 home invasion robbery in Poinciana where two bystanders were fatally shot, execution-style, in the back of the head.
- Killer Makes Appeal: Eric Lee Simmons, on Florida’s Death Row for killing a Sorrento woman in 2001, had another appeal Thursday before the Florida Supreme Court. A 20-minute oral argument was scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. by Simmon’s appellate attorney, who contends trial attorneys failed to raise key issues on the evidence.
- Gore’s Attorneys File Motion Citing Governor was Unfairly Influenced to Sign Death Warrant: In a bid to save his life, attorneys for David Alan Gore filed papers Wednesday listing five reasons his April 12 execution should be stopped, including that Gov. Rick Scott was unfairly influenced to sign the serial killer’s death warrant after meeting in January with the Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers’ editorial review board.
- Calling his signed death warrant “nothing more than a rigged lottery,” Gore’s attorneys claim that before meeting with members of Scripps’ editorial review board, Gore’s death row case “was not even being considered for a death warrant.”
- Martin County jury finds Silva guilty of murdering cellmate: After deliberating about 4 1/2 hours, the 12-member panel declared Silva guilty of first-degree murder, rejecting the defense’s contention that Silva snapped during the early morning hours of Oct. 14, 2009, and killed Terry Bell. Monday, Silva’s jury returns to the Martin County Courthouse to begin the sentencing phase of the trial. Jurors will hear evidence to determine whether Silva lives or dies.
- Bello Can’t Accept Death Sentence Deal in 1981 Police Slaying: Trying to end decades of legal battles, a prosecutor offered Friday to drop the death sentence for a man convicted of killing a police officer if he ended his appeals and agreed to not seek parole. But a defense lawyer said 58-year-old Carlos Bello can’t knowingly and intelligently waive his rights, and therefore, isn’t able to accept the deal. So the parties moved forward to prepare for another death sentence hearing in front of a jury.
- Editorial: Requiring unanimity for death penalty isn’t being soft on crime: The alarming backdrop is that the Death Penalty Information Center, an independent nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., reports that since 1973, Florida has reversed more death sentences than any other state…Reasonable people may disagree about the merit, efficacy and morality of capital punishment, but all should agree that the process must be fair, impartial and as timely as possible.