>Why does it take so long to execute serial killers? They commit multiple murders, yet, once they’re captured, often live a decade or more with appeals, stays, extensions, etc.
Danny H. Rolling, 52, was pronounced dead at 6:13 p.m. at Florida State Prison in Starke, about 30 miles northeast of Gainesville. Witnesses said he stared toward them and sang a hymn-type song just before the drugs were administered.
“Maybe now that we don’t have this on us,” said Dianna Hoyt, the stepmother of one victim, “we can try and relax and live with the memories we have of our children and be at peace.”
Mr. Rolling was 36 when he arrived in Gainesville shortly before the fall semester began at the University of Florida, a drifter with a criminal past who pitched a tent in some woods near campus. He followed two freshman roommates, Sonja Larson, 18, and Christina Powell, 17, to their off-campus apartment, raped Miss Powell, repeatedly stabbed both women with a hunting knife and mutilated their bodies.
The police discovered them on Aug. 26, after Miss Powell’s parents reported that their daughter was not answering her door or phone. Later that night, the police found Christa Hoyt, 18, dead in her off-campus duplex. Mr. Rolling had raped and stabbed her, severed her head and placed it on a shelf.
The next day, Tracy Paules and Manuel Taboada, both 23, were discovered stabbed to death in their apartment, not far from where the other killings took place. Mr. Rolling attacked Mr. Taboada, a former high school football player, as he slept, then killed Miss Paules. All of the victims were University of Florida students except for Miss Hoyt, who was attending a nearby community college.
I still remember the hysteria this guy caused. The whole town was on lockdown. Folks were terrified. It was like Ted Bundy all over again. I know there are people who are wrongly imprisoned and executed in this country all the time, so having as much time to fight their imprisonment is an advantage. But what about the cases where the evidence is glaring? I know there are many who are against capital punishment. What do you do with a guy like this? Is life imprisonment sufficient justice, or, in the case of irrefutable evidence where the death sentence is imposed, should there be a cap on the amount of time that passes from sentencing to the actual sentence?