The State of Florida killed Louis Gaskin on Wednesday. The state has now killed more than 100 people since the death penalty was reinstated in 1972.
Gaskin had severe mental illness. He was born to a teenage mother addicted to drugs. Because of her inability to care for him, he was moved between various family members, subject to abuse and neglect, and never lived in a stable environment. He dressed as a ninja on the night of his crimes and later told people the devil got in him.
The jury that sentenced Gaskin to death in 1990 was not unanimous.
As Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty Executive Director Maria DeLiberato said in a statement, “Despite hearing very little about his traumatic upbringing, four of his jurors voted to spare his life. In every other state in the country, that would have been enough for this case to have been final three decades ago. Which is exactly why one of Louis’ surviving victims explained, ‘This death warrant is not doing me any favor; it has only stirred up painful memories and has victimized me again.'”
The 56-year-old Gaskin was sentenced to death for killing Robert Sturmfels and Georgette Sturmfels in their home during a robbery in 1989. After shooting the Sturmfels, he went to another home and shot a third person, who survived.
This was Florida’s second execution this year. Donald Dillbeck was killed in February, the first execution in the state since 2019.