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Emails say family was ok with execution delay

September 26, 2013
Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Emails among top officials in the Florida attorney general's office state that the families of victims of a convicted killer did not object to moving his execution date.

Attorney General Pam Bondi has apologized for asking to delay the scheduled execution of Marshall Lee Gore because the initial date picked by Gov. Rick Scott conflicted with a Bondi campaign fundraiser.

Initially Bondi's office said there was no correspondence or emails discussing the decision to delay the execution from Sept. 10 to Oct. 1.

But on Wednesday Bondi's office said a second search, in response to a public records request from The Associated Press, had turned up two brief emails from August. One email to Bondi's chief of staff from one of the chief attorneys who handles death penalty cases states "the families have been contacted and are okay."

"Got it. Thanks. They had not told me of the final resolution so it was good to get your call," Carlos Muniz responded.

The sister of one of Gore's victims did not respond to a request from the AP for comment.

Bondi's office did not respond to a question asking if the families of Gore's victims were told the reason for the need to delay the execution date. Bondi said this week that her staff knew the reason for the delay.

Gore was convicted of the March 11, 1988, killing of Robyn Novick, a 30-year-old exotic dancer whose naked body was found in a rural part of Miami-Dade County, partly covered by a blue tarpaulin. Gore was also sentenced to die for the slaying in January 1988 of Susan Roark, whose body was found a few months later in Columbia County in northern Florida.

In addition to the two death sentences, Gore was given seven life sentences plus another 110 years in a case involving the attempted murder of a third woman.

Gore's execution had been scheduled twice before this year but he received a stay amid ongoing questions over his sanity. Scott scheduled the Sept. 10 date, but then in August delayed it until next week.

When the latest date change was first announced, it was not initially known that it was done to accommodate a Bondi campaign event scheduled for the same night.

Scott said he changed the date at Bondi's request, but he acknowledged earlier this month that he did not know that the reason was that it conflicted with the fundraiser scheduled in Tampa. Both are Republicans.

This week Bondi publicly apologized and said it was a mistake that she would not make again.

Bondi worked for the Hillsborough County state attorney before she ran for attorney general in 2010. This summer she opened her campaign account for a second term. So far she has no declared opponent.

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