STARKE, Fla. – The lethal injection of confessed serial killer Gary Ray Bowles Thursday night was the 99th execution carried out since Florida reinstated capital punishment.
Bowles was pronounced dead at 10:58 p.m.
For the last century, Duval County has led the state in sending defendants to their death. Donald Smith, Cecil King, Tiffany Cole and Randall Deviney are just four out of 51 inmates currently on death row from Duval County.
As for Bowles, he was sentenced to die for the murder of a gay Jacksonville Beach man named Walter Hinton.
After a 5½-hour delay, Bowles was pronounced dead. As a witness to the actual execution, Minor said, "It is something that will forever be ingrained in my head. The moments leading up to his death were tense. The procedure was clinical and surreal at the same time. There were four rows of seats in the execution room and 19 men and 10 women were just feet away from Bowles, who was strapped to a gurney in front of lawyers, authorities and four journalists."
None of the victims' families attended., Bowles was convicted of killing six gay men and was already connected to an IV. He looked to the sky and not at anyone who witnessed his execution. Bowles was asked if he wanted to make a final statement. He said no and referred to a written statement.
Shortly before the first of three injections were pumped into his body, Bowles started praying, which lasted no more than 25 seconds before his mouth stopped moving. His chest, which was rising and falling dramatically, also stopped moving. Roughly 14 minutes later, he stopped breathing and was pronounced dead.
After covering stories in the judicial system since 1998, Minor said he thought it was only fitting to see Florida’s legal process at work from start to finish. The end for The State of Florida v. Gary Ray Bowles came Thursday just before 11 p.m.