The Final Countdown: Execution Scheduled for Florida Death Row Inmate after 37 Years

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The Clock is Ticking for Duane Owen

The countdown has begun for Duane Owen, a man from Florida who has spent 37 years on death row and is scheduled for execution on Thursday, June 15. Despite extensive efforts by his defense team to halt the procedure, their attempts have proven unsuccessful.

In an appeal, Owen’s attorneys argued that “Florida shows little concern for carrying out sentences fairly and efficiently, but Owen, whose delusions and insanity prevent him from fully comprehending the consequences of his execution, deserves constitutional justice,” as reported by the Florida Phoenix and quoted by Telemundo Chicago.

His execution is set for 6 pm (local time) on June 15. – Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Despite the lawyers’ diligent efforts to prevent the execution, the Florida Supreme Court dismissed their petitions, including the proposal to conduct brain evaluations on the individual. Consequently, after enduring one of the longest stays on death row, Owen’s time has come to an end.

What is Owen Accused of?

Duane Owen, 62, is expected to face lethal injection for two separate cases of rape and murder dating back to 1984. One of his victims, Karen Slattery, was just 14 years old, while the other, Georgianna Worden, was 38. Judicial records, reported by Sky News, indicate that the first crime took place on March 24 of that year, with Worden’s murder occurring two months later.

Owen spent nearly 40 years on death row. – Photo: Getty Images

According to authorities, Owen approached the second victim at her home, brutally beating her to death with a hammer. Her body was discovered the next day by one of her sons as he was getting ready for school.

Florida, as reported by WPTV, currently houses almost 300 men on death row. For the past 23 years, lethal injection has been permitted as an alternative to the electric chair for carrying out sentences in the state.

The Resumption of the Death Penalty

In late February, the execution of Donald Dillbeck marked the first one carried out in Florida in four years, sparking divisions among different sectors. International organizations even called for its cancellation.

Florida: The execution of Donald Dillbeck, 59, convicted of two first-degree murders, the first committed with a firearm in 1979 when he was a minor and another with stabbings in 1990, will be this Thursday, 6 pm, local time, with no pending appeals.

– Víctor González (@victorscnews) February 23, 2023

Dillbeck had been convicted of the 1990 murder of a woman during a robbery at a Tallahassee mall. He had also been sentenced to life in prison for killing a police officer. The Catholic Church, as reported by Univision, urged Governor Ron DeSantis not to sign the order, a plea also echoed by Amnesty International.

Amnesty International called for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to halt the execution. – Photo: Reuters / Henry Nicholls

At the time, Amnesty International pointed out that Dillbeck’s lawyers fought against the death penalty on two grounds: his neurobehavioral disorder resulting from prenatal exposure to alcohol, which is comparable to intellectual disability (prohibited from execution in the US); and the prosecution’s reliance on his prior murder conviction to support the death penalty, which they argued was undermined by new evidence.

In Texas, in mid-March, another man named Arthur Brown Jr. was executed for a quadruple murder committed over three decades ago. International media reported that Brown maintained his innocence until the very end, declaring, “What is happening here tonight is not justice. It is the murder of another innocent man.”

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