ORLANDO | Despite marking Respect Life Month in October and World Day Against the Death Penalty, Florida has its 100th execution scheduled on the books.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a death warrant Sept. 25, for convicted murderer James Dailey, who was sentenced to death in 1987 for the 1985 murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio. After encountering Shelly, her twin sister and another girl hitchhiking, Dailey and an accomplice, James Pearcy took the trio to a bar then their apartment. Although the other two girls left, Shelly stayed behind and went in the car with the two men. The teen’s nude body was found the next day near the Indian Rocks Beach bridge in Pinellas County. According to court documents, she had been beaten, choked, stabbed 31 times and then held underwater until she drowned. Of the stab wounds, 18 of them were defensive wounds, suggesting she was fighting for her life.
While Pearcy, who told authorities Dailey committed the murder, was sentence to life in prison, Dailey received the death penalty — once at trial and once during an appellate resentencing in 1993. He was 41 at the time of the crime, and is now 73. He is scheduled to be executed Nov. 7.
Dailey would be the third inmate put to death since DeSantis took office in January. The others were Gary Ray Bowles, who was executed in August for a 1994 murder in Jacksonville, and Bobby Joe Long, who was executed in May for a 1984 murder in Hillsborough County. Those prior executions involved inmates who committed multiple murders.
The scheduled execution is a milestone for the Sunshine State — it’s 100th since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. During that time, there have been 29 inmates — nearly one in every three executions — who were deemed innocent and exonerated of the crimes and released from Florida’s Death Row.
As with other executions, respect life offices and ministries will be hosting prayer services leading up to and on the day of the execution — Nov. 7. Please contact your diocesan office of Respect Life or your local parish for schedule events. During the services, prayers are uplifted for the victims, their families and the inmate being put to death along with his family. Prayers are also brought forth for members of the prison staff who are in charge of the execution, along with the governor and Florida legislators.
In a statement made in light of the execution date, Mark Elliott, executive director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, described the death penalty as “hugely expensive, wasteful, racially biased big government failure. It does nothing to keep Florida families safer and every year diverts tens of millions of taxpayer dollars from solving unsolved homicides, effective crime prevention, and vital assistance for the victims of violent crime and their families.”
Citizens and people of faith are encouraged to contact the governor and urge him to stop executions. He can be reached by phone (850-488-71460, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
This story originally appeared on https://thefloridacatholic.org