DeSantis suspends capital punishment of convicted Florida murderer until psychiatric evaluation

DeSantis Suspends Capital Punishment Of Convicted Florida Murderer Until Psychiatric Evaluation

Duane Owen, a 62-year-old man convicted of the murder of two women in Florida in 1984 and whose execution was scheduled for June 15, will undergo a psychiatric examination on Tuesday to determine if he understands the scope of capital punishment.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order ordering three psychiatrists to examine Owen’s mental state and further establishing a temporary stay of execution for the convicted murderer until his psychiatric condition is determined.

DeSantis, who is expected to announce this week that he will run for the Republican nomination in the 2024 general election, notes in the order that if Owen is found to have the mental capacity to understand the death penalty and why it is imposed on him, the execution will continue as scheduled.


The governor’s order indicates that if, on the contrary, he decides after receiving the report that he does not have the mental capacity to do so, Owen will be admitted to a mental health treatment center “until such time as he recovers his sanity and the order can be executed.” death warrant”.

Owen’s lawyers had pointed out to justify the examination that a previous study indicated that the convicted man met “the criteria of insanity.”

DeSantis signed the order to execute Owen on May 9. whose attorneys had unsuccessfully tried to get a stay of execution granted by a Palm Beach County circuit judge.

Channel 5 WPTV-News points out that according to a neuropsychologist’s report provided by the lawyers, Owen believes he is a woman in a man’s body.

Owen was found guilty of murdering Karen Slattery, a 14-year-old high school freshman, and Georgianna Worden, a mother of two, in two separate events in Palm Beach County in 1984.

The later convicted man broke into a Delray Beach home in March 1984 and repeatedly stabbed and sexually assaulted Slattery, who was there taking care of some children.

Two months later, he broke into a Boca Raton home, where he bludgeoned Worden to death with a hammer and sexually assaulted her. The body of the 38-year-old mother was found by her two children the next morning.

Owen was arrested that same year and confessed to the crimes. He was later found guilty of first degree murder and sexual assault with a deadly weapon for both counts and sentenced to death.

According to the order, the examination will take place this Tuesday, after which the commission must immediately report its findings to the governor no later than tomorrow, Wednesday.

If Owen is finally executed, it will mean the fourth execution of the year in this state and the sixth signed by the current governor of Florida, which reflects a lower average than that of his predecessors, and number 103 since capital punishment was restored in 1976 in this state.

There are currently nearly 300 inmates on the state’s “death row,” as the place where those to be executed are known, according to data from the Florida Department of Corrections (Prisons).

DeSantis signed a measure passed in the state Congress last month that reduces the requirements for sentencing a person to the death penalty and eliminates the requirement of unanimity by jurors for this verdict.



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