In a bid to save his life, attorneys for David Alan Gore filed papers Wednesday
listing 5 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
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
In Gore's 28 years of appealing his punishment from death row, it's the first
time attorneys have alleged his constitutional rights have been violated
because a governor took action to sign his death warrant after discussing his
case with members of a newspaper's editorial review board.
"It was during this referenced editorial board meeting on Jan. 5 when Mr.
Gore's case was pushed to the front line," wrote attorneys John Abatecola and
Linda McDermott. Neither was available for comment Wednesday.
In a 61-page motion to set aside Gore's death sentence and execution, his
attorneys cite a videotaped conversation between Scott and Scripps' editorial
review board members in which he was quizzed about the status of Gore's case
and asked, "Is that something you can look into?"
"I'll look into it," Scott replied on the videotape.
According to Abatecola and McDermott, 12 days after that meeting, on Jan. 17,
the Florida Parole Commission notified state Attorney General officials they
were updating a clemency investigation that was 1st completed in 1987.
"Less than eight weeks after Gov. Scott's meeting with the editorial review
board of Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers, the Governor signed Mr. Gore's
death warrant," the motion states. "The decision to authorize an execution
should not turn on the partial interests of those with special access to the
Governor, in this case a newspaper editorial board, or on one-sided advocacy
where the condemned is not even notified of the process."
Gore, 58, was sentenced to death in the July 1983 1st-degree murder of Lynn
Elliott in Vero Beach. He also was convicted in the murders of five other women
in Indian River County for which he received 5 life prison terms.
His co-defendant and cousin Fred Waterfield is serving life in prison for his
role in the crimes.
In signing Gore's death warrant, Scott was operating under the 1992 death
sentence imposed by Circuit Judge Dan L. Vaughn, who presided over the second
sentencing phase Gore received in the Elliott case after a federal judge in
U.S. District Court threw out his original death penalty.
Gore's attorneys, in their motion, note that at least 42 of the 397 inmates on
Florida's death row appear to have exhausted their appeals and "there's no
principled way to distinguish between Mr. Gore and the decision to sign his
death warrant ... from the decision to not sign a death warrant on these
Gore's lawyers further claim the clemency process in his case was applied in an
"arbitrary and capricious manner" in violation of his U.S. constitutional
Three other claims raised in Gore's motion center on charges he received
ineffective assistance of counsel during his 1992 resentencing. A fifth claim
alleges that because of the 28 years Gore has spent on death row, adding his
execution to that punishment "would constitute cruel and unusual punishment."
"Such long-term suffering becomes a separate form of punishment," the motion
notes, "which is equivalent to or greater than an actual execution."
Assistant State Attorney Ryan Butler said the state will file papers by Friday
to respond. A hearing to review the issues is scheduled Tuesday before Circuit
Judge Dan L. Vaughn.
"There doesn't appear to be anything significant in this motion," Butler noted
(source: TC Palm)