For the fourth time this year an execution is scheduled for convicted killer Marshall Lee Gore, who escaped previous appointments in the death chamber by taking insanity claims to the courts and because of a conflict with one of Attorney General Pam Bondi's political fundraising events.
Gore, 49, is scheduled to die by injection Tuesday for the March 1988 killing of Robyn Novick, a 30-year-old exotic dancer whose nude body was found dumped in rural Miami-Dade County. Gore was also convicted of killing another woman, Susan Roark, in Columbia County the same year, and of attempting yet another woman's murder.
His death sentence was initially set for June 24 but was delayed by legal maneuvering. Gov. Rick Scott then set it for July 10 but yet another court held hearings on Gore's claims that he is delusional and too insane to execute. After the state Supreme Court upheld denial of Gore's claims, the execution was reset for Sept. 10.
Then Scott abruptly delayed it again, until Oct. 1, initially giving no explanation. It later turned out that Bondi had requested the postponement because of the fundraiser, for which she has since apologized.
"I should not have moved it," Bondi told reporters. "I'm sorry and it will not happen again."
In the days before his fourth execution date, Gore's attorney again appealed unsuccessfully to a Miami federal judge for a stay because of insanity claims. Among other things, Gore says he suffers from delusions related to a conspiracy theory in which the purpose of his execution is so that the elite and wealthy people can harvest his organs.
"Gore said that he believed a state senator was waiting to obtain Gore's eyeballs for his son," the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noted in a June opinion denying his earlier claims.
Gore has also said he is being targeted by satanic worshippers for human sacrifice, that he hears voices telling him to hang himself and that he was somehow injected with the virus that causes tuberculosis.
The appeals judges sided with a panel of state-appointed mental health experts who concluded that Gore's "insanity" was all an act "designed to mislead the panel and avoid responsibility for his past actions." Several corrections officers testified that Gore behaves normally except when higher-ranking prison officials are around, such as pretending he cannot hear or walking with an exaggerated limp.
Assistant Attorney General Sandra Jaggard had urged denial of the federal claims, noting that all of Gore's arguments had been properly dealt with months ago by the Florida Supreme Court. The federal courts should not substitute their judgment for that ruling, she said.
On Friday, the 11th Circuit court denied Gore's second appeal, as well as his emergency motion for stay of execution.
Gore's initial conviction and death sentence in the Novick case were overturned in 1998 by the Supreme Court, which found a prosecutor asked Gore improper questions and made inappropriate comments to the jury. In 1999, a second jury returned the same verdict and Gore was again sentenced to die.