Saturday, October 21, 2006

Supreme Court is last chance for Rolling


Sun Staff writer

A federal appellate court in Atlanta rejected serial killer Danny Rolling's appeal Friday to stay his execution, set for next week.

Barring any new, last-minute claims, the decision leaves Rolling's attorneys looking to the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his death sentence.

Rolling has been scheduled to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Florida State Prison in Bradford County.

Carolyn Snurkowski, assistant deputy attorney general for the state, said Friday she didn't know what options Rolling's attorneys would have.

"His last remaining option is to request that the United States Supreme Court take the case. Barring something that would be out of the ordinary, I would expect the same result that was obtained in Rutherford," said State Attorney Bill Cervone in Gainesville.

Rolling's appeal relied on the same failed claims made by Death Row inmate Arthur Rutherford. The handyman, convicted for the 1985 murder of a Milton woman, was executed earlier this week.

The appeal had challenged chemicals used in lethal injections and cited an American Bar Association report on the death penalty process in Florida, saying it was newly discovered evidence showing lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.

A former inmate who served prison time for robbery, Rolling was a suspect in a 1989 triple slaying in Louisiana.

He was being held in Marion County for a robbery when he became a suspect in the slayings of five Gainesville college students.

Killed were Christa Hoyt, 18, of Archer; Sonja Larson, 18, of Deerfield Beach; Tracy Paules, 23, of Miami; Christina Powell, 17, of Jacksonville; and Manuel Taboada, 23, of Miami.

In 1994, Rolling pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing the five inside their off-campus apartments. Three of the female students had been sexually assaulted.

Some of the bodies had been mutilated.

Lise Fisher can be reached at 374-5092 or

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