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Death row inmate rages that DeSantis has ‘done a lot worse’ just before Florida executes him for murdering woman in mall parking lot

Donald Dillbeck, Ron DeSantis

Pictured (L and R) Donald Dillbeck (Florida Department of Corrections), (C) Ron DeSantis (Image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A 59-year-old death row inmate convicted of murdering a woman in a mall parking lot back in 1990 decided to use his last breaths on earth to claim that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has “done a lot worse.”

Florida killer Donald David Dillbeck was put to death Thursday evening for stabbing and murdering Faye Vann, a 44-year-old mother, during an attempted carjacking in a Tallahassee mall parking lot more than 30 years ago. At the time, Dillbeck was on the run, having escaped a prison work detail days earlier while serving a life sentence for the 1979 shooting death of Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Lynn Hall. Dillbeck was just 15 years old when he killed the deputy.

Still, Dillbeck reportedly asserted before his death by lethal injection that the governor of the Sunshine State has done “worse” things.

“I know I hurt people when I was young. I really messed up,” Dillbeck was quoted by the Tallahassee Democrat. “But I know Ron DeSantis has done a lot worse. He’s taken a lot from a lot of people. I speak for all men, women and children. He’s put his foot on our necks. Ron DeSantis and other people like him can suck our dicks.”

Notably, and in the aftermath of a jury narrowly voting against the death penalty in the Parkland shooter case, DeSantis recently expressed support for non-unanimous death penalty recommendations.

The floated “supermajority” idea, where a jury would need at least 8 of 12 jurors to vote yes for capital punishment, is relevant to Dillbeck’s case.

Most recently, Dillbeck sought the mercy of the U.S. Supreme Court. In that Monday petition for a writ of certiorari, which chronicled Dillbeck’s lengthy history of appeals that went nowhere, attorneys suggested that Dillbeck’s death sentence was unconstitutional because it was the result of a non-unanimous jury decision.

Dillbeck asked the Supreme Court to answer two questions:

1. In light of the medical community’s recent consensus that Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure is not only functionally similar to Intellectual Developmental Disability, but uniquely identical in both etiology and symptomatology, does it violate the Eighth or Fourteenth Amendment for a state court to foreclose all meaningful review of a defendant’s claim that he is entitled to exemption from execution under Hall v. Florida’s requirement that state courts deciding whether to apply the protections of Atkins v. Virginia must be guided by the views of the medical community?

2. Because “a jury that must choose between life imprisonment and capital punishment can do little more—and must do nothing less—than express the conscience of the community on the ultimate question of life or death[,]” Witherspoon v. Illinois, 391 U.S. 510, 519 (1968), does the Eighth Amendment bar the execution of a defendant who was not sentenced to death by a unanimous jury?

Dillbeck’s lawyers claimed their client was born into “hell,” after his mother Audrey Hosey drank three to four six-packs of beer per day during her pregnancy. Later in life, Dillbeck’s mother died by suicide by walking into highway traffic.

“Ms. Hosey’s gestational alcohol use had a catastrophic effect on Mr. Dillbeck’s intellectual and adaptive functioning, causing congenital, clinically significant impairment which manifested in childhood and spans the neurocognitive/intellectual, self-regulative, and adaptive realms,” the lawyers argued.

“Mr. Dillbeck’s biological sister, Cindy, testified that Mr. Dillbeck was ‘very slow’ and unable to learn basic skills such as tying his shoes,” the petition went on. “He was frequently mocked for his slowness, including by the children’s foster family once they were removed from Ms. Hosey’s care. Mr. Dillbeck’s deficits ultimately led to the siblings’ separation, as the family that adopted Cindy would not take Mr. Dillbeck due to his slow learning and disability.”

The defendant’s last-ditch bid for a supreme reprieve was denied without comment on Wednesday, however.

Faye Vann’s children reportedly thanked Gov. DeSantis for “carrying out the sentence” of the man who murdered their loved one.

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.