to do for the state’
A day after signing David Alan Gore’s death warrant, Gov. Rick Scott, in
reflecting on the decision, said as governor, he had “a very solemn obligation
to do this.”
Gore, 58, was sentenced to death in the July 1983 first-degree murder of Lynn
Elliott. He also was convicted in the murders of five other women for which he
received 5 life prison terms.
The death warrant Scott signed Tuesday designates Gore should be executed at 6
p.m. April 12.
“I spent a lot of time praying about this. This individual is a serial
murderer,” Scott said Wednesday in Tallahassee. “The crimes he committed were
heinous crimes against individuals. It’s the not the first thing I wanted to do
every day when I ran for governor. But it’s the right thing to do for the
Scott said he signed off on Gore’s death warrant after first hearing about
Gore’s 1980s reign of terror in Indian River County during a January editorial
board meeting with Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers.
In a letter to Florida State Prison Warden Steven Singer, Scott wrote Gore’s
execution should be carried out between noon April 12, through noon April 19.
In signing Gore’s death warrant, Scott was operating under the 1992 sentence of
death imposed by Circuit Judge Dan L. Vaughn, who presided over the 2nd
sentencing phase Gore received in the Elliott case after a federal judge in
U.S. District Court threw out his original death penalty.
Vaughn, who followed a jury’s unanimous recommendation that Gore be executed,
noted in the nearly 20-year-old order that Elliott fought to save her own life
before Gore shot her twice in the head outside his parents’ Vero Beach home, a
murderous act witnessed by a teenage boy on a bicycle.
“This brutal homicide was ... consciousless, pitiless, unnecessarily torturous
to the victim and with utter indifference to or enjoyment of the suffering of
the victim,” Vaughn wrote Dec. 8, 1992. “The horror and terror experienced by
Lynn Elliott and the torture and pain inflicted upon her prior to her death,
clearly places this 1st-degree murder outside the norm of other 1st-degree
In July 1983, a 29-year-old Gore and his cousin Fred Waterfield, then 30,
picked up Elliott, 17, and Regan Martin, 14, as the two Vero Beach girls were
hitchhiking to Wabasso Beach.
Gore and Waterfield, dubbed the Killing Cousins, handcuffed Elliott and Martin
and drove them to Gore’s parents house on Fifth Street Southwest on the
outskirts of Vero Beach where they raped the girls.
Gore shot and killed Elliott as she tried to escape. He was convicted and
sentenced to death in 1984. Martin survived the ordeal and now lives in
Waterfield is serving life in prison for his role in the killing.
Authorities eventually determined Gore killed 6 women between 1981 and 1983.
Some victims were dismembered and buried in citrus groves west of Vero Beach.
With Gore now under a death warrant, his third since 1989, the Florida Supreme
Court Tuesday issued an order expediting any legal proceedings that may occur
as his execution nears. The high court ordered that any oral arguments that may
be required be held at 9 a.m. April 4.
It’s unclear what legal steps Gore’s attorneys might undertake before April 12.
His lawyers, Linda McDermott and John Abatecola, on Tuesday and Wednesday
couldn’t be reached for comment.
Florida Department of Corrections Communications Director Ann Howard said Gore
soon will be relocated from Union Correctional Institution to the nearby
Florida State Prison, in Raiford, but she declined to elaborate.
“We don’t typically discuss when we are moving an inmate,” she said. “He will
be relocated to Florida State Prison where the executions are done and that’s
done by lethal injection.”
Howard said death row inmates under a death warrant may grant media interviews,
in a group setting and he’s permitted to be interviewed by a specific member of
the media of his choosing, with his written approval.
“We’ll ask him if he wants to do media interviews in the next few days; if he
does, I’ll let the various media members know that he will make himself
available and when,” Howard said. “But at this point, we don’t know what he’s
going to do.”
For his last meal, Gore will have some discretion in planning his menu.
“What he can request is a meal within $40,” Howard said, “and can be cooked
within the prison.”