With Paul Howell‘s execution put off for an unknown amount of time, Gov. Scott has slated another Florida inmate for lethal injection. On Friday, Scott signed a death warrant for 59-year-old Larry Eugene Mann, convicted of the Nov. 1980 abduction and killing of a 10-year-old girl.
According to the case summary from the Florida Commission on Capital Cases, Elisa Nelson was riding her bike to school around 10:30 a.m. on November 4, 1980 after a dentist appointment earlier that morning. Her bike was found later in the day in a ditch about a mile from her school. A day later, her body was found.
According to the summary “Elisa died from a skull fracture possibly caused by a single blow to the head. A cement-encased steel pipe was found lying next to the body. There were two lacerations approximately 3.5 and 4.5 inches along the girl’s neck. The medical examiner could not discern if the lacerations were made before or after the child’s death, but they were not the cause of death. There were no signs of molestation on the body.”
The same day Nelson disappeared, police were called to Larry Mann’s home following a suicide attempt in which Mann had slashed his wrists with a razor blade. When the authorities arrived, Mann told them he had “done something stupid and needed help.”
Four days later, on November 8, Mann’s wife was getting his glasses from his truck when she found a note Nelson’s mother had written to excuse her for being late to school. The note was stained with both Nelson and Mann’s blood. Mrs. Mann told a friend, who reported the discovery to the police.
Mann has a history of pedophilia, psychotic depressions and suicide attempts, according to court documents. In an article for the Tampa Bay Times reporter Dan Sullivan writes:
Prosecutors theorized that Mann abducted Elisa with the intention of molesting her, but he was able to resist and abandoned his efforts. When Elisa tried to get away, Mann killed her. He cut her throat and hit her in the head with a pipe. An autopsy showed no signs of molestation.
It wasn’t the first time Mann had been accused of a sexually motivated crime. As a child, he was charged with taking a 7-year-old girl from a church parking lot and sexually assaulting her. At his murder trial in 1981, a woman from Mann’s native Mississippi testified about an incident from eight years earlier in which Mann broke into her apartment, where she was babysitting a 1-year-old boy. He grabbed her by the neck and threatened to harm the boy if she didn’t “give me what I want.” He forced the woman into a sex act.
His attorney, Marie-Louise Samuels Parmer, plans to appeal the warrant, and told Sullivan that Mann has been a model prisoner, shows remorse and is a changed man.
Mann has survived at least one execution date, having been slated for execution by electric chair on Feb. 4, 1986. He is now scheduled to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. on April 10 at Florida State Prison in Starke.