TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Governor Ron DeSantis signed the death warrant for convicted murderer Donald David Dillbeck on Monday. In a letter to Florida State Prison Warden Donald Davis, DeSantis notified the warden that he signed Dillbeck’s death warrant.
Dillbeck, 59, was a fugitive from justice when he murdered Faye Vann on June 24, 1990 – two days after he escaped from prison. He was serving a life sentence for killing Lee County Deputy Sheriff Dwight Lynn Hall. Dillbeck is scheduled to die by lethal injection on February 23 at 6 pm.
In 1979, Dillbeck ran from Deputy Hall while being questioned. Once Hall caught up with him, the two men struggled. Dillbeck grabbed the deputy’s gun and shot him to death. He confessed to the murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
Eleven years later, Dillbeck managed to escape while participating in an off-site work release program. He fled to Tallahassee on foot and bought a knife on the way. Once in the city, he sought to hijack a vehicle at the Tallahassee Mall and approached Faye Vann in the parking lot, asking her for a ride.
After Vann refused, she began honking the horn and attempted to drive away. Dillbeck then stabbed her 19 times before slitting her throat. He immediately drove off in her car, but crashed in the parking lot. A department store security guard chased him down and apprehended him before police arrived.
The Tallahassee Democrat reported in 2020 that Dillbeck claimed to suffer from brain damage caused by his schizophrenic mother who “drank four six-packs a day while pregnant and abused and neglected him as a toddler.”
Regarding the death warrant, Vann’s sister says that Dillbeck is getting what he deserves. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it,” she says.
Dillbeck’s execution will be the state’s first since Gary Ray Bowles was put to death in June 2019, the Associated Press reported. The 32-month gap marks the longest period of time Florida has gone without carrying out an execution since 1983.
“My family was robbed of a wonderful lady… We want you to sign a death warrant for Dillbeck,” Vann’s nephew told the governor. “It is time for closure.”