Gov. Scott Signs Death Warrant for Florida Inmate William Van Poyck

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:


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12 thoughts on “Gov. Scott Signs Death Warrant for Florida Inmate William Van Poyck

  1. The statement that Van Poyck fired numerous shots at the padlock of the van door, with one ricocheting and striking the other guard is not true. He fired shots at the padlock but it did not ricochet or strike either of the guards. On the video “I Almost Got Away With It” they portrayed Bill as putting a gun to the head of one of the guards and pulling the trigger of the gun with the gun not firing. THAT IS NOT TRUE. Bill never put a gun to anyone’s head. The prosecution had the guard tell that lie to enhance the sentence.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lisa I hate to tell you this but he did put a gun to Steve Turner’s head and said your dead. He Pulled the Trigger and it jammed. So you can keep telling your self this lie and live with it. Mr. Van Poyck is a manipulator of our justice system and he should sit where he at. I know being his sister you don’t wont to see the facts but they are there. Your brother did help plain the escape and the attempted murder of another guard. I will pray for you that you might under stand what happened that day when your brother made made up his mind to go through with his plain to try to help this inmate out. Yes he didnt pull the trigger on Fred, but He Did Pull Steve Turner out from under the Van and told him to find the keys, and when he couldnt he put the gun to his head and said your DEAD.
      Lisa think of what this does to a person to know your about to leave to boys behind. One of them age 8 and the other 6. To know that you where the lucky one to not die that day but a good friend yours did. I agree the tv show I Almost Got Away had a lot of thing incorrect fact about the case. I just want this to be known by you on the fact not the fiction your telling right now.

  2. Reblogged this on Wobbly Warrior's Blog and commented:
    Rick Scott’s odious “shoot the messenger” death warrant designed to keep the pubic in the dark about death row conditions.

  3. anonymous says:

    The other guard and william are the only ones to know the truth, I suppose it depends on who we want to believe. Governor Scott is killing by proxy how many other people? Vengeance belongs to God only.

  4. anonymous says:

    IF we as human beings don’t show mercy to others it won’t be shown to us. This man has had a lifetime of incarceration. How would we cope with that? He deserves to be free to have at least some adult freedom. Human beings were created to socialise with family and each other, not to be shut in a cell on your own with 6 hours exercise per week-thats right, could you handle that? And don’t get me started on the food! Sure we all need to be punished at times, but to take all his life like this is depraved. What happened to rehabilition? We all feel bad about Mr Griffis and for his family, I never knew him but I’m sure he was a good man.
    Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy. On all of us!

  5. anonymous says:

    Even God punishes those that do not accept christ as their saviour. So, it’s not just humans that “don’t show mercy”. Or, maybe you don’t believe in what the bible says. Van Poyck should have been executed a lot earlier. He was a willing participant in this horrific scene and should be punished. If he was such a nice guy (and innocent) …why was he there in the first place? He needs to meet his maker. I cannot believe that people like the person who wrote above thinks it is okay for people to shoot, torture or whatever, another person and then think it is inhumane for those same murderous people to sit on death row. Give me a break!!!!!

    • anonymous says:

      But can you see that he has/is been punished, he has been entombed for over twenty five years. I’m just sticking up for humanity we can’t take a life or lives in any circumstances. He and others do live in cement tombs.

  6. charmy says:

    Always runs “but he is sitting for so many years”
    Of course, because the court is always flooded with requests over years.
    But at some point must be closing time, Although it is certainly difficult for belonging of William

    if I do not want to shoot and wont be hurt anybody, I do not take weapon in my hand less in my car. Finished. Nobody have to go in the death cell then either. William should now show “seizes” and tell his sister that he is guilty and therefore he must go.
    Finally, she must continue to live with all this. How can she do that, when she assumes that he is innocent? It is up to him, his load burden on her now to take away.
    (sorry for grammer)

  7. curtis carter says:

    One problem of death row is the shear number of years people sit on it to ‘rot’ in sometimes terrible conditions. I once heard someone describe death row as if you go in sane, very soon you’ll be insane. I use to support capital punishment to the point of arguing to defend it, now like many pro death penalty supporters I’m really starting to think if it really is the only solution to some of society notorious criminals.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It is NOT the solution, most of these men were brought up in reform schools where they were tortured. Why did the state allow this, these men were bred to hate, they need prayers now because nothing else is available. Having said that prayer is the most powerful force in the universe for humans. Bill was bred in captivity, how can a human being cope with this? Animal rights protestors do everything they can to protect animals, what do we do?…

  9. curtis carter says:

    Just to correct my above comment, I’m indicating I’ve fallen out of support for capital punishment. I should of made it more clearer.

  10. anonymous says:

    They do rot in reform schools and jails, also they develop narcissistic and sociopathic tendencies, apparently they have to to survive! Jails are breeding mental conditions in inmates! The inmates need humane conditions to rehabilitate themselves. I notice that nobody ever talks about inmate on inmate violence which is shocking! Jail is predators and preyed.

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