After long hiatus during pandemic, DeSantis signs new death warrant, his fourth overall

by | Jan 24, 2023

  • DeSantis signs first warrant since pandemic, fourth overall.
  • Convicted for a 1990 murder, Donald David Dillbeck was also convicted of a 1979 murder of a law enforcement officer.
  • Two of DeSantis’s four death warrants have been carried out, while two are pending.

Late Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a death warrant for Donald David Dillbeck, who was sentenced to death for the 1990 murder of Faye Vann. The death warrant is the fourth signed since DeSantis became governor, and the first death warrant signed since 2019.

Two of the previously condemned prisoners with warrants signed by DeSantis have since been executed. A third, James Dailey, is still awaiting execution after the Florida Supreme Court granted a temporary stay to examine claims of innocence. The high court later ruled that evidence immaterial and inadmissible to the case.

Dillbeck would be the first Florida inmate executed since Gary Ray Bowles, who was executed in August 2019, a quarter-century after committing a murder in Jacksonville in 1994.

“Dillbeck was a fugitive when the murder occurred, having escaped from prison two days prior,” emailed Bryan Griffin, Deputy Communications Director for DeSantis. “Dillbeck was participating in an off-site vocational program when he escaped. Dillbeck walked to Tallahassee, purchasing a knife on the way. Upon arriving in Tallahassee, he walked to the mall and attempted to hijack Faye Vann’s car. Dillbeck brutally stabbed Faye numerous times, killing her. After killing Faye, Dillbeck attempted to flee in her car but ultimately crashed and was caught in the vicinity shortly after. Dillbeck was charged and convicted of first-degree murder, armed robbery, and armed burglary,” the email said.

The governor’s office also said that at the time of the murder, Dillbeck was already serving a life sentence for killing Lee County Deputy Sherriff Dwight Lynn Hall in 1979. Dillbeck was parked in a beach parking lot in Fort Myers when Deputy Hall approached his car. During Hall’s questioning, Dillbeck attempted to flee on foot, which prompted Deputy Hall to chase after him. Deputy Hall caught up to Dillbeck, a struggle ensued, and Dillbeck grabbed Deputy Hall’s gun and shot him twice, fatally killing him.

Dillbeck confessed to Hall’s murder, court records show.

The execution date has been set for Thursday, February 23, 2023, at 6 p.m., but that date could be moved based on court appeals.


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