By The News Service of Florida
An attorney for Death Row inmate Louis Gaskin has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to try to halt a scheduled Wednesday execution of Gaskin in the 1989 murders of a Flagler County couple.
Attorney Eric Pinkard filed documents Thursday seeking a stay of execution and asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider arguments about whether Gaskin should be spared the death penalty. The filings came after the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday refused to block the execution.
Gaskin, now 56, was convicted in the murders of Robert and Georgette Sturmfels during a burglary of their Flagler County home.
The appeals at the Florida Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court have focused, in part, on arguments that a jury was not given evidence of Gaskin’s mental illness before recommending that he be sentenced to death. The jury voted 8-4 to recommend that Gaskin be executed, with a judge then issuing the death sentence.
“This (U.S. Supreme) Court has made clear that the consideration of mitigation by the sentencer, is at the heart of the constitutionality of the death penalty,” Pinkard wrote in Thursday’s motion for a stay. “Because the trial judge and the recommending jury were denied the mitigation (evidence) that was extant in Mr. Gaskin’s case, the recommending jury and the trial court never focused on the unique circumstances of Mr. Gaskin. His deprivation, mental illness, and trauma he suffered was never heard, thus falling to meet the minimum constitutional requirements.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Gaskin’s death warrant last month.