On Wednesday I headed up to the Florida state prison for another execution. William Van Poyck was accused of shooting and killing a prison guard back in the 80’s.
The normal group of protesters gathered outside the prison in the area for those opposed to the death penalty. (A bus full of people from Palm Beach come for every execution.) They hold signs, sings songs and ring a bell. This execution had a couple new twists though.
Two exonerated death row inmates, and Van Poyck’s sister joined the protest. So that added some good emotion and content to the photos. The two former inmates met in jail and stayed in touch after getting out. Herman Lindsey is the guy looking through the binoculars. He was watching for the hearse that carried the body away from the prison. That’s the first indication that it’s over. Seth Penalver spent 18 years on death row and was released six months ago.
Van Poyck wrote a letter a few days prior to his execution to the Gainesville Citizens for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Kind of interesting I thought. (And excellent hand writing too) He also kept a blog while in prison. He’d send letters to his sister (seen in the first photo below) and she’d post them online.
Like usual at these things, nobody showed up to support the death penalty. That’s what made the last execution I covered so unique.
The cousin of the prison guard, who looks a lot like Kenny Rogers, spoke after the execution. It wasn’t much of a photo, but I just liked how much he looked like Kenny Rogers. And he spoke for about 45 minutes. Even the PR Lady with the prison started to get bored. But given the situation, it’s best to just let him get his words out. (As you can guess, he was very much in favor of the death penalty.)