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Convicted murderer Duane Eugene Owen will be executed in Florida

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  • Duane Owen appealed his death sentence to the US Supreme Court.
  • Ron DeSantis had temporarily stayed Owen’s execution.
  • Owen claims to suffer from brain damage and dementia.

Duane Owen will be executed today in Florida. Lawyers for death row inmate Duane Owen appealed to the US Supreme Court to stay his execution, scheduled for June 15 in Florida. They say he suffers from serious mental disorders.

«Florida has little interest in seeing that sentences are carried out fairly and efficiently, but Owen, whose delusions and insanity prevent him from rationally understanding the consequences of his execution, has a right to make it conform to the Constitution,» his defense attorneys said in the appeal, according to the Florida Phoenix.

Duane Owen appeals to the Supreme Court to stop his execution

Florida death row inmate appeals to Supreme Court to stop execution
PHOTO: Shutterstock

“This right includes the ability to have meaningful judicial review of the complex constitutional claims that he has timely raised,” they add. Seven Florida Supreme Court justices previously voted against staying Owen’s execution and one, Jorge Labarga, recused himself and did not vote for reasons not reported.

The lawyers allege that Owen suffers from serious mental problems that legally prevent him from being subjected to the death penalty. All of his requests, including one for imaging tests to determine the state of his brain, were denied by the Florida Supreme Court.

Ron DeSantis agreed to temporarily stay Owen’s execution

Ron DeSantis agreed to temporarily stay the execution warrant
PHOTO: Getty Images – Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers remarks during his «Our Great American Comeback» Tour stop on June 1, 2023 in Laconia, New Hampshire. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Prior to that unsuccessful appeal to the Florida high court, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis agreed to temporarily stay the execution order so that Owen could undergo a psychiatric examination, EFE reported.

Psychiatrists Wade Myers, Tonia Werner and Emily Lazarou concluded that Owen «has the mental capacity to understand the death penalty and the reasons why it was imposed,» DeSantis said when he lifted the stay of execution on May 24, which was again scheduled for June 15.

A neuropsychologist consulted by the defense determined that Duane Owen is mentally ill

A neuropsychologist consulted by the defense ruled that his illness is real
PHOTO: MundoNOW Archive

However, a neuropsychologist consulted by the defense determined that his illness is real, not feigned. Owen was convicted of the murders of Karen Slattery, a 14-year-old student, and Georgianna Worden, a mother of two. These two separate events occurred in Palm Beach county in 1984. He confessed when he was arrested that same year.

His lawyers cited in the appeal to the Florida Supreme Court «brain damage and insanity» and «denial of due process» among other reasons for staying the execution. Owen’s execution will be the fourth in Florida this year and the 103rd since capital punishment was reinstated in Florida in 1976.

There are currently nearly 300 inmates on Florida’s death row

Currently there are almost 300 prisoners in the "death row" of the state
PHOTO: MundoNOW Archive

There are currently almost 300 prisoners on Florida’s death row, according to data from the Florida Department of Corrections. The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCCB) petitioned Governor DeSantis on May 31 to stay Owen’s execution and commute his sentence to life without parole. “Taking the life of Mr. Owen will not restore the lives of the victims. Intentionally ending his life will only perpetuate violence in a society immersed in it,» said the bishops’ letter.

According to the Florida Phoenix, Justice Clarence Thomas has rejected Duane Owen’s appeal and his execution will go forward as scheduled on June 15.

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