Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Fla. serial killer appeals to U.S. Supreme Court

TALLAHASSEE — Lawyers for serial killer David Gore asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to block his planned execution later this week.

The 58-year-old convict is scheduled to receive a lethal injection on Thursday at Florida State Prison in Starke for the 1983 rape-murder of 17-year-old Lynn Elliot in Indian River County. Gore also is serving life terms for killing five other girls or women, who were raped and dismembered.

His attorneys asked for a stay and filed an appeal based on a recent Supreme Court ruling that dealt with ineffective legal assistance.

The nation's highest court ruled last month in an Arizona case that the federal courts must hear a convict's claim of receiving ineffective legal assistance — or none at all — for appeals alleging the inmate's trial lawyers also had been ineffective.

Procedural issues cannot be used to block those appeals, the federal justices ruled in the 7-2 opinion. That decision is limited to states including Florida that do not let defendants claim ineffective counsel until after their initial appeals are resolved.

Gore contends his death sentence should be lifted because a prior appellate lawyer failed to locate a witness for an appeal that the Florida Supreme Court ultimately denied in 2007.

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