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 | Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops

Catholic Bishops Urge Governor DeSantis to Spare the Life of Louis Gaskin

April 4, 2023 | The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCCB) has requested that Gov. Ron DeSantis stay the execution of Louis Gaskin and commute his sentence to life without parole. Gaskin is scheduled to be executed on April 12, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. for the 1989 murders of married couple Georgette and Robert Sturmfels, in Palm Coast, Florida.

In a March 31 letter to DeSantis on behalf of the bishops of Florida, Michael Sheedy, FCCB executive director, recognized the irreversible harm caused by Gaskin’s actions and the immense suffering of the victims’ families, loved ones and communities.

“However, taking the life of Mr. Gaskin will not restore the victims’ lives,” said Sheedy. “Rather, premeditated, state-sanctioned killing disrespects the sacredness of all human life and perpetuates the cycle of violence and vengeance. Intentionally ending Mr. Gaskin’s life is unnecessary. The alternative to the death penalty of life-long incarceration without parole is a very severe punishment which keeps society safe.”

Sheedy concluded by stating that a stay of execution by DeSantis would have the support of the many Floridians who back alternatives to the death penalty. Prior to Gaskin’s scheduled execution, Floridians will gather across the state to pray for the victims of violent crimes, the condemned on death row, and for an end to the use of the death penalty.

Full text of letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis is available online.