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Florida Gov. DeSantis signs death warrant for Palm Coast murderer

Posted at 5:02 PM, Mar 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-13 17:37:36-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a death warrant Monday for a man who was convicted of murdering a couple at their Palm Coast home in 1989.

Louis Bernard Gaskin is scheduled to be executed April 12, 2023 at 6 p.m. in Raiford, Florida, for the double murder of Robert and Georgette Sturmfels.

According to the Governor's press release, on the night of Dec. 20, 1989, Gaskin drove to Palm Coast and spotted a light on in the home of the Sturmfels. After parking his car in the woods, Gaskin walked over to their home with a loaded gun, saw the couple sitting in their den, and shot Robert Sturmfels twice through the window.

The press release says as Georgette Sturmfels stood up, Gaskin also shot her through the window, and shot Robert for a third time. Georgette crawled into the hallway before being shot again by Gaskin from outside of the home, according to the release.

Gaskin shot both victims once more in the head after entering the Sturmfels' home by pulling out a screen and breaking into the bedroom window. He then robbed the couple's home, stealing items such as lamps, jewelry, cash, a grandfather clock, and video cassette recorders.

According to the release, Georgette was shot a total of five times and a total of four bullets struck Robert.

That same night around 11:30 p.m., Gaskin arrived at the home of another couple, Joseph and Mary Rector, who lived one mile away from the Sturmfels. According to the release, Gaskin cut their phone lines and threw a log and rocks at the house to lure Joseph Rector outside.

Through their bedroom window, Gaskin shot Joseph Rector as he stood in the doorway to the bedroom, the release says.

The Rectors were able to escape their home by getting into their vehicle and driving away as Gaskin fired shots at them.

Gaskin was arrested, and afterwards directed police to evidence in a nearby canal. He also confessed to the crimes, including another murder of Charles Miller, who was found dead on the porch of his trailer due to multiple gunshot wounds.