The ‘Ninja Killer’ Who Killed A Couple In Flagler County In 1989 Will Be Executed In Florida

On Wednesday, a man dubbed the “ninja killer” will be executed for the 1989 murders of a couple in Flagler County.

Robert Sturmfels, 56, and Georgette Sturmfels, 55, who were visiting their winter home from New Jersey when Gaskin killed them on December 20, 1989, are due to be executed at 6 p.m. by lethal injection.

Gaskin, who was known as the “ninja killer” because he committed the atrocities while dressed entirely in black, shot his victims with a.22-caliber rifle, according to investigators. He received a first-degree murder conviction.

According to a summary of the case found in the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling, Gaskin double-shot Robert Sturmfels through the window of the house after parking his automobile in a wooded area.

The summary states that after shooting Georgette Sturmfels, who was attempting to escape the room, he then shot Robert Sturmfels once more. After observing Georgette Sturmfels through a door, he shot her once more. He then entered the house and shot both of them in the head, according to the court document.

Investigators discovered items that he had taken from the Sturmfels’ house, including a clock, two lamps, and a videocassette recorder, which they believe were meant as Christmas presents for his girlfriend.

According to the summary, he then proceeded to Joseph and Mary Rector’s house. Joseph Rector was shot as he got out of bed to check a disturbance, but the Rectors managed to get to a car and make their way to the hospital.

In addition, he was found guilty of burglary, attempted murder of the Rectors, and armed robbery.

Before his trial, Gaskin reportedly informed a psychotherapist that he knew what he was doing and swiftly confessed to the crimes, according to local media at the time.

“The guilt was always there,” Gaskin claimed. The devil had a stronger grip than God. I was aware that I had erred. I wasn’t crazy.

In 1990, the court approved the jury’s recommendation to sentence someone to death (8-4). Although the Legislature may send Gov. Ron DeSantis a bill this week that would permit 8-4 jury recommendations for the death penalty, Florida law now needs a unanimous jury vote.

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Although Gaskin, now 56, has filed multiple appeals over the years, in court records Attorney General Ashley Moody stated that by 2020, the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court had made it possible for his death warrant to be executed.

Since his execution warrant was issued, the state and federal supreme courts have dismissed Gaskin’s appeals; the most recent denial came on Tuesday.

Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, this will be the state’s 100th execution. There are 297 more people waiting to die in Florida.

This execution occurs three weeks before Darryl B. Barwick’s scheduled execution for the 1986 murder of Rebecca Wendt, 24, in Panama City, and six weeks after Donald Dillbeck, 59, was sentenced to death for the 1990 murder of Faye Vann, 44, in Tallahassee.

If Gaskin and Barwick are not granted any reprieves, this will mark the quickest time since three inmates were executed in Florida within 36 days in 2014, when Rick Scott was the governor.

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