DeSantis Signs Death Warrant for Another Convicted Murderer

DeSantis Signs Death Warrant for Another Convicted Murderer

Death row sentence carried out over 30 years later

Jim McCool
Jim McCool
March 13, 2023

The death penalty has remained one of the most controversial political issues for decades. Now, Florida will look to carry out the latest execution with Governor DeSantis (R-FL) signing the death warrant for Louis Bernard Gaskin.

Another one bites the dust.

Gaskin was arrested and given the death penalty in 1989 for multiple murders.  On the night of December 20, 1989, Louis Gaskin drove to Palm Coast and spotted a light on in the home of Robert and Georgette Sturmfels. He parked his car in the woods and, with a loaded gun, walked to the house.

He saw the couple sitting in their den. He walked around the house and shot Robert Sturmfels twice through the window. As Georgette Sturmfels stood up, Gaskin also shot her through the window and then shot Robert a third time. Georgette crawled into the hallway, but Gaskin pursued her from the outside of the home and shot her again.

Gaskin then pulled out a screen, broke the bedroom window, and entered the home. He shot each victim once more in the head. A total of four bullets struck Robert, and Georgette was struck five times. Gaskin then robbed the Sturmfels’ home, stealing items such as lamps, a grandfather clock, video cassette recorders, jewelry, and cash.

Gaskin proceeded to the home of a second set of victims, Joseph and Mary Rector, who lived less than one mile away. Gaskin cut their phone lines and threw a log and rocks at the house to lure out Joseph Rector.  From outside the home, through the bedroom window, Gaskin shot Joseph as he was standing in the doorway to the bedroom. Joseph and Mary were able to get into their car and drive away, all while Gaskin fired shots at their car.

When found, Gaskin confessed to the murders and the murder of Charles Miller that occurred before he took the lives of four people that night.  Now 33 years later, Gaskin has had his sentence certified by the governor, with the execution date set for Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at 6:00 pm.

The death penalty has come into scrutiny over the years from multiple angles.  Questions have been raised about its constitutional legitimacy under the Eighth Amendment while others complain long sentences eat up tax dollars and is not efficient.  Either way, ordering the execution of Louis Bernard Gaskin advances DeSantis national reputation as a law and order governor.

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Jim McCool

Jim McCool

Jim is a graduate of Florida State University where he studied Political Science, Religion and Criminology. He has been a reporter for the Floridian since January of 2021 and will start law school in 2024.

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