TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — One of Florida’s longest-serving inmates on death row will be executed Thursday for two separate 1984 murders, the fatal stabbing of a 14-year-old babysitter when two children in his care were sleeping and the other a hammer attack on a mother of two.
Duane Owen is scheduled to receive a lethal injection at 6 pm EDT at the Florida State Prison in Starke. He obtained death sentences for the March 24, 1984 rape and stabbing of 14-year-old Karen Slattery, and for the May 1984 rape and murder of Georgianna Worden, 38, both in Palm County. Beach.
Owen attacked two other women in Palm Beach County who survived. All four attacks occurred just before and after Owen’s 23rd birthday. Now 62, Owen is one of 293 people on Florida’s death row and one of its longest-serving residents. In addition to her death sentences, she also received six life sentences.
If the lethal injection is carried out, it would be the fourth execution in Florida this year after none since 2019. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed each of the death warrants in the months before announcing his run for president.
Slattery was repeatedly stabbed and raped in a Delray Beach home while two children in her care slept.
Two months later, Worden was sleeping at her Boca Raton home when Owen struck her multiple times with a hammer and raped her. One of Worden’s sons found her body the next morning as she was getting ready for school, according to court records.
Delray Beach and Boca Raton are about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Miami, in Palm Beach County.
Owen’s lawyers argued that he should not be executed for insanity. The state Supreme Court rejected his latest appeal last week and the US Supreme Court rejected it on Wednesday.
A defense psychologist testified earlier this month that Owen believes he absorbed the souls of his victims and that they still exist within him. Owen’s lawyers had argued that he is schizophrenic and suffers from delusions.
Prosecutors argued that while Owen has mental health problems, nothing would stop him from being executed because he knows it is punishment for his crimes. State psychiatrists testified that Owen’s schizophrenia is an act he talks about when he is evaluated, but he otherwise shows no signs of the disease.
And while the defense argued that Owen has dementia and gender dysphoria, state psychiatrists said Owen has a good memory, does not seem to present as a woman and that gender dysphoria does not make people more aggressive or trigger delusional thoughts. Instead, they said Owen is sexually sadistic, according to court records.
Owen’s mother died when he was 11 and his father took his own life when he was 13, court records show. They add that he was a victim of physical and sexual abuse when he was a child.