As a much-criticized bill to speed up Florida’s executions sits on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature, Rick Scott has signed another death warrant, in a move that is perhaps indicative of his decision on the measure.
Scott has signed a death warrant for 58-year-old William Van Poyck, who was convicted in the death of corrections officer Fred Griffis in 1987.
According to the case summary from the Florida Commission on Capital Cases:
On 06/24/87, during the transport of a state prisoner named James O’Brien, Van Poyck and an accomplice, Frank Valdez, ambushed the two guards in the prison van, assaulted them, and fired three shots, one to the head and two to the chest, into one of the guards, killing him instantly. In an attempt to free O’Brien from the van, Van Poyck fired numerous shots at the padlock of the van door, with one ricocheting and striking the other guard.
Van Poyck and Valdez then fled the scene in a Cadillac, and a chase with police ensued. During the chase, Van Poyck fired numerous shots at the pursuing police cars, striking three of them.
Eventually, Valdez lost control of the car and it struck a tree. The two were arrested and four pistols were recovered from the car, including the service revolver of the guard that was killed.
According to the Associated Press, “Van Poyck has taken responsibility for the slaying but denied he was the triggerman.”
Van Poyck has a blog that is maintained by his sister, who posts his letters to her there. His writing often details the conditions on the row, which I’ve reposted on this blog several times, specifically in the case of Tom Wyatt, who I posted about here, here and here.
Van Poyck is scheduled to die by lethal injection on June 12 at 6 p.m. ET, at Florida State Prison. From The Associated Press: