On Florida’s death row for more than 3 decades, a twice-convicted murderer was
executed Wednesday night for the rape and murder of a St. Petersburg woman.
Robert Waterhouse, 65, was pronounced dead at 8:22 p.m., after claiming his
innocence one last time in the death chamber at Florida State Prison near
Starke. Waterhouse lingered on death row longer than any of the previous 276
people executed by the state, according to the Department of Corrections. He’s
spent more than 31 years mostly by himself in a 6-by-9-foot cell as his various
appeals worked their way through the courts.
The execution was scheduled to take place at 6 p.m., but was delayed for
several hours as the U.S. Supreme Court considered a last minute appeal, which
was rejected. A similar appeal was rejected earlier in the day.
Waterhouse, 65, met for 2 hours Tuesday morning with his wife Fran. They met
and married while he was behind bars.
Waterhouse was convicted in 1980 of murdering Deborah Kammerer of St.
Petersburg. Her body was found in the tidal flats of Tampa Bay. She’d been
beaten, raped and dragged into the bay.
Unable to identify her immediately, police turned to the public for help.
Neighbors identified Kammerer’s body, and an anonymous tipster led police to
Waterhouse, who was on parole for a New York killing.
He had pleaded guilty to 2nd-degree murder for killing a 77-year-old Long
Island woman during a 1966 burglary. He was sentenced to life but was paroled
after 8 years.
In the Kammerer case, a bartender had seen her and Waterhouse leave a St.
Petersburg bar together. Blood, hair and fibers in Waterhouse’s car were linked
to the victim. Waterhouse admitted having sex with Kammerer but denied killing
Waterhouse becomes the 1st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
Florida and the 72nd overall since the state resumed capital punishment in
1979. Only Texas (478), Virginia (109, and Oklahoma (97) have executed more
people in the USA since the death penalty was re-legalized on July 2, 1976.
Waterhouse becomes the 4th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the
USA and the 1281st overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17,
(sources: CBS News & Rick Halperin)