(Miami) An American, nicknamed “the ninja killer”, is to be executed Wednesday evening in Florida more than thirty years after committing a double murder during a burglary.
The Supreme Court having rejected his final appeal, Louis Gaskin, 56, is almost certain to receive a lethal injection at 6 p.m.
On December 20, 1989, he had committed bloody burglaries dressed entirely in black – hence his nickname in the American media – in order to steal Christmas presents for his girlfriend.
Armed with a rifle, he had first gone to the winter residence of a couple in their 50s from New Jersey. According to court documents, he first fired through the window, fatally hitting the husband and wounding his wife. He then chased and shot her.
He stole some items, cash and jewelry from that house and went to a second home, where he renewed his attack. There was injured a man, who had however managed to flee in the car with his wife.
Louis Gaskin was arrested ten days later thanks to information provided by a relative. He had confessed to the crimes.
At his trial, a jury found him guilty of murder. But only eight of the twelve jurors had voted in favor of the death penalty. Today, it takes a unanimous jury to impose the death penalty, but that was not the case then.
In the following years, his lawyers brought numerous appeals, arguing in particular numerous psychiatric problems.
In 1991, the Florida Court of Appeals recognized that he suffered from schizophrenic disorders and auditory hallucinations, while finding him aware of the seriousness of his actions and therefore criminally responsible.
His other appeals were no more successful, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the warrant last month setting his execution date.
The elected Republican, who harbors presidential ambitions, had supervised only two executions during his first term, but has signed three such terms since the start of the year.
Noreen Rector, survivor of the second burglary, was moved. “I don’t believe the death penalty serves any purpose,” she wrote in a statement to the Daytona-Beach News-Journal. Louis Gaskin’s execution would “disturb me greatly if it served Governor DeSantis’ presidential quest,” she added.
Since the beginning of the year, nine convicts have been executed in the United States, in just four states (five in Texas, two in Missouri, one in Florida and one in Oklahoma).