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20061027: Executed Serial Killer Gave Note to Minister Confessing to 3 Other Murders FL Gainesville Serial Killer News

Shortly before he was executed in Florida this week, serial killer Danny Rolling handed his spiritual adviser a handwritten confession to a grisly triple murder 17 years ago in his hometown of Shreveport, police said Friday.

"I, and I alone am guilty," said the one-page note. "It was my hand that took those precious lights out of this ole dark world. With all my heart & soul would I could bring them back."

Rolling, the son of a Shreveport police officer, was executed Wednesday for killing five college students in Gainesville, Fla., in a ghastly string of slayings in 1990.

Police have long suspected that Rolling stabbed 55-year-old William T. Grissom, his 24-year-old daughter Julie and 8-year-old grandson Sean as they got ready for dinner on Nov. 4, 1989, in Grissom's home.

In 1997, Rolling sent a detailed confession, including a description of the crime scene, to the woman he had married in prison. She gave it to police, said retired police detectives Don Ashley and Danny Fogger, who had worked on the case.

Since Rolling had pleaded guilty in Florida and his execution was expected, Louisiana authorities saw little reason to try him.

Still, police said was a relief to have a signed, public confession.

The Rev. Mike Hudspeth said that during a two-hour visit Tuesday, Rolling told him that he had killed the Grissoms and would give the minister a written confession the following day.

The document was released at a news conference Friday. Most of the text is in cursive, with large, gothic-style capitals at the start of each paragraph.

"I witnessed his execution and it was nothing compared to what he put his victims through," Julie Grissom's mother, Joyce Burton, said in a written statement. "At least I can get up knowing he's not breathing the air that our children should still be breathing."

 

 

 

20061026: Executed Serial Killer Admits 3 More Slays LA Shreveport Serial Killer News
Danny Rolling Confessed To 1989 Triple Murder Just Before Execution Earlier This Week Shortly before he was executed in Florida this week, serial killer Danny Rolling handed his spiritual adviser a handwritten confession to a grisly triple murder 17 years ago in his hometown of Shreveport, La., police said Friday. "I, and I alone am guilty," said the one-page note. "It was my hand that took those precious lights out of this ole dark world. With all my heart & soul would I could bring them back." Rolling, the son of a Shreveport police officer, was executed Wednesday for killing five college students in Gainesville, Fla., in a ghastly string of slayings in 1990. Police have long suspected that Rolling stabbed 55-year-old William T. Grissom, his 24-year-old daughter Julie and 8-year-old grandson Sean as they got ready for dinner on Nov. 4, 1989, in Grissom's home. In 1997, Rolling sent a detailed confession, including a description of the crime scene, to the woman he had married in prison. She gave it to police, said retired police detectives Don Ashley and Danny Fogger, who had worked on the case. Since Rolling had pleaded guilty in Florida and his execution was expected, Louisiana authorities saw little reason to try him. Still, police said was a relief to have a signed, public confession. The Rev. Mike Hudspeth said that during a two-hour visit Tuesday, Rolling told him that he had killed the Grissoms and would give the minister a written confession the following day. The document was released at a news conference Friday. Most of the text is in cursive, with large, gothic-style capitals at the start of each paragraph. "I witnessed his execution and it was nothing compared to what he put his victims through," Julie Grissom's mother, Joyce Burton, said in a written statement. "At least I can get up knowing he's not breathing the air that our children should still be breathing."
 

20061026: Florida serial killer died singing a hymn FL Gainesville Serial Killer News
Danny Harold Rolling, Florida's most notorious serial killer since Ted Bundy, died singing.

He was executed by injection Wednesday evening for the grisly murders of five college students during a 1990 spree that terrorized the college town of Gainesville, Florida.

Rolling, 52, was pronounced dead at 6:13 p.m., said Robby Cunningham, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Corrections.

"Mr. Rolling sang a song," he told reporters. "It was almost hymnal."

The prisons spokesman added that he would call the hymn " 'None greater than thee, O Lord' because that was the hook."

Asked if he had any last words, Rolling said he did and then broke into the hymn, said witness Stephen Stock, of WESH-TV in Orlando.

Although prison officials eventually turned off the sound system, Rolling continued talking and singing for about two minutes. As the chemicals took effect, his breathing became labored and stopped, Stock said.

Relatives of Rolling's victims said they did not pay attention to his hymn.

Rolling's killing spree began in August 1990, when he broke into three apartments in Gainesville belonging to five students.

The bodies of Sonja Larson, 18, and Christina Powell, 17, were found at a townhouse they shared near the University of Florida campus.

Christa Hoyt, 18, who attended a local community college, was found decapitated the next morning at her apartment. Tracy Paules and Manny Taboada, both 23, were discovered dead a day later in the apartment they shared.

Bodies were posed

All were stabbed and slashed to death with a hunting knife. Three of the victims were sexually assaulted and all of the bodies were left posed; one victim's severed head was found on a shelf.

"When these crimes happened in 1990, they were by far the most horrific thing that had happened in Gainesville and in the University of Florida community," said Bill Cervone, a prosecutor in Gainesville.

He said he witnessed the execution, adding, "I'm not sure that the punishment fits the crime, but I do know this: Danny Rolling will never kill again."

Diana Hoyt, Christa Hoyt's stepmother, agreed. "I'm a nurse, and I've seen my patients die," she said. "And they died a much more horrific death than what this man suffered. He relaxed and went to sleep."

"I didn't appreciate his song," Hoyt said. "I didn't understand how he could sit there, after the horrendous crimes he committed, and talk about the angels watching over him."

Scott Paules, Tracy Paules' brother, said that although he witnessed Rolling's execution, "I didn't spend the last 16 years thinking about him. Very rarely did I read a complete article about him. I spent my time thinking about my sister."

The victim's mother, Ricki Paules, said she was "mad all the way through" the execution. Now that Rolling is dead, she said, "I'm done with it. He's out. Finis. Gone."

Larson's mother, Ada Larson, told CNN she still wears her daughter's high school ring. "It just warms my heart," she said. "It's a little symbol of Sonja."

Reminders of Ted Bundy

Rolling, a Louisiana police officer's son, pleaded guilty in 1994 to the murders, which called to mind serial killer Ted Bundy and the 1978 sorority house murders of two Florida State University students in Tallahassee. Bundy, who is believed to have killed dozens of women, died in Florida's electric chair in 1989.

Rolling was calm and cooperative in the hours before his execution, Cunningham told The Associated Press. He spent several hours with his brother, Kevin, and his brother's pastor, the AP reported.

The condemned man had a last meal of lobster, shrimp, baked potato, strawberry cheesecake and sweet tea.

Rolling arrived in Gainesville on a Greyhound bus, pitched a tent in the woods near campus and set out to become, as he would say later, a "superstar" among criminals, the AP reported.

He blamed the murders on abuse he suffered as a child and his treatment in prison, and claimed he had good and bad multiple personalities, according to the wire service.

In a 2002 letter to the AP, Rolling wrote: "I assure you I am not a salivating ogre. Granted ... time's passed; the dark era of long ago -- Dr. Jeckle & Mr. Hyde did strike up and down the corridors of insanity."

He told the AP he had killed one person for every year he was behind bars. He served a total of eight years in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi before the killings.

 

20061025: Serial killer Dies By Lethal Injection FL Serial Killer News
Serial killer Danny Rolling, 52, died by lethal injection late Wednesday in Florida for the murders of five university students in 1990, even as a challenge to his method of execution was pending at the US Supreme Court. He died at 6:13 pm (2213 GMT), the Gainesville Sun newspaper reported on its website. Rolling is the 47th person to be put to death this year in the United States, according to the Washington-based Death Penalty Information Centre, which opposes capital punishment. Florida alone executed 15 people in 2005. Rolling sang his final statement, a gospel song with no apparent reference to his crimes, the Sun reported. For his last meal, Rolling dined on lobster tail, butterfly shrimp and baked potato at the Florida State Prison near Riaford, Florida. His final desert was strawberry cheesecake and sweet tea. He pleaded guilty in 1994 to killing five students from the University of Florida at Gainesville, just as the 1990 school year began, in a killing spree that paralysed the campus and spread across universities nationwide. He sexually assaulted most of his victims and decapitated one of them. Lower courts rejected his challenges to death by lethal injection, in which his lawyers argued that it was unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment. A further appeal was pending before the US Supreme Court, which had not decided whether to even consider the case. Florida television station WPLG reported on its website that Rolling spent most of Wednesday meeting with his brother and two spiritual advisors. Rolling was injected by eight syringes while strapped on a gurney. His court challenge argued that the sequence of chemicals used for lethal injections in most US states including Florida - Sodium Pentothal, a saline solution, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride - can inflict severe pain. The American Bar Association has challenged Florida’s death penalty system, which allows juries to recommend by a split majority - rather than a unanimous vote - that judges impose capital punishment. Rolling’s jury called unanimously for his death.
 

20061022: Serial killer's execution date stirs memories in Gainesville FL Gainesville Serial Killer News
Sixteen years ago a serial killer terrorized the college town of Gainesville, slaughtering five students in their off-campus apartments.

The killer left in his wake a terrified city and University of Florida campus and prompted a massive manhunt.

The man responsible was a Louisiana career criminal named Danny Rolling, who is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday evening.

Rolling's pending death is stirring memories of those who lived through the city's worst chapter.

Gainesville minister Larry Reimer recalls the horrible feeling of waking up on two straight mornings to the news of more young people killed in those late August days of 1990.

Families of the victims are unanimous in the their desire that Rolling die, and some will be inside the prison to witness Rolling's last breath Wednesday.

 

20061018: Serial Killer's Appeal Is Denied FL Talahassee Serial Killer News
Convicted serial killer Danny Rolling's appeal to prevent his execution was denied by Florida's Supreme Court Wednesday. Rolling murdered and mutilated five students at the University of Florida in Gainesville in August 1990. Over the course of four days, Rollings killed Sonja Larson 18; Christa Hoyt, 18; Christina Powell, 17; Tracy Paules, 23; and Manny Taboada, 23. Larson, Paules and Taboada were all from South Florida. Rolling's attorneys appealed his execution saying that it would deny his right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment and violated his right of free speech. Rolling also claimed that the circuit court erred in denying an evidentiary hearing arising from his public records request. The Supreme Court found that there was nothing presented in Rolling's appeal that would prohibit the upholding of previous decisions that would prove the death sentence unconstitutional. Gov. Jeb Bush said, "I'm not surprised they have rejected the claims. After all, this person was convicted of atrocious crimes, a whole series of them and a jury of his peers suggested the death penalty was appropriate and it's taken a long time to get to this day. And so I think we need to move on. Get it done." Rolling is set to be executed by lethal injection on Oct. 25. He is currently being held at Union Correctional Institution near Raiford. He could still appeal the execution at the federal level. Local 10 reporter Jeff Weinsier is the only South Florida reporter to be selected to attend the execution. He will file live reports from Florida State Prison next week.
 

20061012: Judge Denies Latest Appeal of Serial Killer Danny Rolling FL Gainesville Serial Killer News
The Florida Supreme Court will hear the case of convicted serial killer Danny Rolling. A judge ruled that Rolling's arguments about lethal injection are without merit. Attorneys for Rolling had filed claims regarding the process of the death penalty in Florida. They say they will continue fighting. Arguments on the appeal are scheduled before the Florida Supreme Court on October 18th. Governor Jeb Bush signed a death warrant last month for Rolling to be executed October 25th. Rolling killed four women and a man in their off-campus apartments in 1990. One victim was decapitated and others were mutilated, posed and sexually assaulted. Rolling pleaded guilty.
 


Copyright 1995-2006 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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