Gov. DeSantis hails supermajority death penalty verdict for cold-blooded killer in Sebring bank

DeSantis AP
The Governor reacted to a 9-3 jury decision to execute a shooter who killed 5 women in a bank in 2019.

During a Central Florida stop, Gov. Ron DeSantis made his case for a state law (SB 450) that he pushed for last year, again saying that eight jury votes in favor of capital punishment is enough if the murderer was found guilty unanimously.

“We have to look at the worst offenders and they need to have the most exacting punishment.,” DeSantis said in Auburndale, speaking at the SUNTRAX Test Facility & Toll Operations Center.

The Governor’s comments were timely, reacting to a 9-3 jury decision to execute a cold-blooded killer who gunned down five women half a decade ago at a bank in Sebring.

DeSantis noted that the supermajority piece applies only to the penalty phase, and not to the guilt or innocence of anyone accused of a crime that qualifies for execution.

“This is not a question about whether they’re guilty or innocent, you need a unanimous jury and you should, for guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” DeSantis said.

“But once that’s been decided, the appropriate punishment is something that one of the 12 jurors shouldn’t be able to kneecap, particularly based on maybe a personal political philosophy that’s just different than where the people of Florida have come down.”

To make his point, DeSantis invoked the Parkland shooter, who killed 17 and wounded 17 more during a Valentine’s Day 2018 rampage at his former high school but was spared the death penalty at trial.

DeSantis acknowledged that some people have categorical objections to the death penalty, but that those people should not be able to “deny justice,” and that a supermajority to that end therefore should be “sufficient” to impose the ultimate penalty.

The current law, passed in the 2023 Legislative Session, changed precedent that compelled unanimous verdicts for executions, making Florida the fourth state to not require unanimity.

2020 Florida Supreme Court decision (State v. Poole) removed the requirement that a jury be unanimous when agreeing on a death sentence.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2016’s Hurst v. Florida that a simple majority would be insufficient to execute, but it’s clear the supermajority may be considered a compromise by the Governor that could fly with the more conservative court in place after Donald Trump’s three appointments while President.

Critics pan Florida’s current law as “unconstitutional” and a “grave injustice,” meanwhile, which hearkened back to a legally and morally compromised era.

“This Jim Crow-era sentencing practice was abolished for a reason,” said the American Civil Liberties Union when the law was passed in March 2023.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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      • Earl Pitts is a Pedophile

        June 28, 2024 at 12:06 pm

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  • Richard Paula

    June 27, 2024 at 1:22 pm

    The new Florida law concerning a death penalty finding by a jury after a finding of guilt allows an execution with just two-thirds of the jury voting yes for the death penalty to be imposed. Florida, to my knowledge, goes farther than any other state that allows a non-unanimous death penalty finding. While I do think there may be some rare instances where a death penalty may be warranted under no circumstances should it be less than ten out of twelve yes votes.

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      June 28, 2024 at 3:59 pm

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  • MarioBowman

    June 27, 2024 at 3:03 pm


  • Marionowman

    June 27, 2024 at 3:05 pm


  • MH/Duuuval

    June 28, 2024 at 12:44 pm

    The killer is another one of those damned illegals, am I right?

    • BGD

      July 9, 2024 at 7:24 am

      No, he is not one of those 12 million illegal immigrants that is stalking, preying on, torturing, raping and murdering innocent young women in this country. Nice to see that you are defending their right to do so, though.

  • Michael K

    June 29, 2024 at 11:04 am

    Our “pro-life” governor sure does love to execute people. He’s earning the title Governor DeathSentence.

  • MH/Duuuval

    June 29, 2024 at 9:01 pm

    The entire structure of sentencing in Florida remains embedded in the Jim Crow era, beginning with 6-person juries for all cases other than capital cases.

    Translated: a 6-person jury in Florida can put someone away for life without parole; it takes 8 of 12 to sentence someone to death.

  • SuzyQ

    July 2, 2024 at 12:41 am

    Notwithstanding the efforts of the pedophile lobby, Governor Ron DeSantis is not only America’s Governor but the most principled conservative leader in a generation and the most effective Florida governor ever. It is why we Floridians re-elected him to a 2nd term in the greatest landslide in the history of modern Florida politics.

Comments are closed.


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