Tonight Florida will reduce the number of inmates on its death row to 399, with the execution of David Alan Gore. Gore, 58, was convicted of the 1983 first-degree murder of Vero Beach teenager Lynn Elliot. He also pled guilty to the killing of three teenage girls and two women he abducted, tortured and killed between 1981 and 1983 in Vero Beach with the help of his cousin Fred Waterfield, 59, who is serving life in prison.
Gore filed numerous appeals, the latest being last week when his attorneys argued his execution should be delayed because of incompetent lawyers. From the Palm Beach Post:
Gore’s attorneys claimed that two of his lawyers were incompetent. Stuart attorney Robert Udell, who was later disbarred for unrelated financial misdeeds, failed to offer evidence at a resentencing hearing that could have persuaded a jury to vote for life imprisonment instead of death, Gore’s attorneys said. Udell is best known in Palm Beach County for his representation of convicted teacher-killer Nathaniel Brazill.
During a subsequent appeal, Gore’s lawyers argued his post-conviction attorney called only Udell to testify about his flawed strategy at the resentencing hearing. Udell blamed his co-counsel. However, that attorney wasn’t located and didn’t testify. The testimony was key and, in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, should block Gore’s execution to give him time to argue that he received ineffective assistance from the attorney who handled his post-conviction appeal, Gore’s lawyers said.
The court denied his appeal in a 24-page ruling, saying Gore ”cannot demonstrate” that the outcome of his appeal would have been different had the other attorney testified. Gore’s attorneys are now appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court in a last attempt to gain a stay.
Gore is just one of approximately 40 inmates on Florida’s death row who are death warrant eligible, but his execution was most likely pulled to the top of the list by his inability to stop discussing the killings. In a new book, “The Serial Killer Whisperer” the author, Tony Ciaglia, details his correspondence with a handful of serial killers. In his letters, Gore describes his crimes in a detailed, unapologetic fashion, garnering him the attention of readers, reporters and eventually, Gov. Rick Scott. From the Huffington Post:
Several people have made sure the boasting did not go unnoticed. There was the Las Vegas man who wrote to Gore, an author who published the inmate’s grotesque letters, and a newspaper columnist and editorial board who brought the case to the attention of Florida Gov. Rick Scott. The Republican promptly signed the death warrant even though more than 40 other men have been on death row longer….
Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers columnist Russ Lemmon, who has written about the Gore case for a couple of years, published a column for a few newspapers in southeastern Florida on the day the editorial board had an interview with the governor. They talked about the case, the book and read Scott an excerpt from an email from one of Elliott’s relatives.
The board asked Scott if he had considered signing Gore’s death warrant. The governor promised to look into it.
Meanwhile, letters poured into Scott’s office, many of them mentioning the correspondence.
While many of the victims family members have been extremely vocal about looking forward to this execution, there is one surprising voice speaking out against it. Angela Hommell, 56, a German native who lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., survived being abducted, raped and abused at the hands of Gore and his cousin, but she says she is distraught over Gore’s scheduled execution.
“I don’t believe in the death penalty. I’m Roman Catholic and in Germany we think the death penalty is barbaric,” Hommell said during a March interview with Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers.
From The Republic:
Last month, Hommell wrote to the Florida Attorney General’s Office with a message of mercy and a plea for the governor to stop Gore’s execution.
“I am writing to you to ask for clemency and/or a (stay) of execution for Dave Gore,” Hommell wrote state officials in March. “I believe if they (Gore and Waterfield) would have been prosecuted for the rape against me they would have gone to jail and not be able to go on the killing spree that they did. I am not going to feel closure and/or justice for me if Dave is killed. Not in my name.”
Gore’s execution is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET at Florida State Prison in Starke.