Florida is set to execute a man for the brutal rapes and murders of a teenage babysitter and mother nearly 40 years ago.
Duane Owen, 62, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Thursday night.
He was convicted on a total of 11 counts, including assault, sexual assault, attempted escape and first-degree murder. He is serving a total of six life sentences in addition to the two death sentences.
Owen has spent nearly 37 years on the Sunshine State’s death row, making him one of the state’s longest serving inmates.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Owens’ death warrant on May 9, 2023. He is believed to be the fourth person to be executed in the state since a moratorium on executions ended this year.
Owen’s murders began in the spring of 1984 when he was 23 years old. His first victim was 14-year-old babysitter Karen Slattery, who was working for a Delray Beach family in March when Owen struck.
Slattery, a freshman at Pope John Paul II High School in Boca Raton, was stabbed 18 times and then raped. The two children she looked after were unharmed.
Two months later, police found Georgianna Worden, 38, dead at her home in Boca Raton. The mother of two children was raped and beaten to death with a hammer.
Like Slattery, her attacker left her two children unharmed. The next morning they discovered her body and the gruesome crime scene.
Owen was arrested just one day after Worden’s body was found, on May 30, 1984. He was arrested for an unrelated burglary, but eventually confessed to Worden’s murder.
He also confessed to assaulting two other women in Palm Beach County, both of whom survived.
Owen received two death sentences in two separate trials for the murders. His conviction for Slattery’s murder was briefly overturned in 1990, but he was found guilty again at his new trial in 1999.
Owen’s lawyers argued that he should not be executed as he suffered from severe schizophrenia. Earlier this month, a psychiatrist testified that Owen believes he absorbed his victims’ souls, which still reside within him.
However, both the Florida Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court have rejected his appeal for a stay of execution in recent days.
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