Crist re-orders killer’s executionby Dara Kam | February 19th, 2010
Gov. Charlie Crist for the second time ordered David Eugene Johnston to be put to death by lethal injection, decades after the Death Row inmate convicted of killing an elderly woman was first ordered to be executed.
Crist first ordered Johnston, now 49, to be put to death last year in April but the Florida Supreme Court stayed the execution until DNA tests could be done. Johnston has spent nearly 25 years on Death Row and is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on March 9 at 6 p.m. at Florida State Prison in Starke.
Gov. Bob Martinez signed Johnston’s first death warrant in 1988 after he was sentenced to die for killing 84-year-old Mary Hammond in Orlando.
Johnston appealed that order on a variety of issues, including a claim that he is severely mentally ill.
The DNA tests taken from Hammond’s fingernail clippings could not exclude Johnston as a contributor of the DNA.
The high court ruled last month that the new evidence, including the DNA test results, would not have exonerated him and denied his request for a new trial. And the court ruled that, while Johnston may be mentally ill, he is not mentally retarded and thus can still be executed.