Death warrant for man convicted of fatal escape
Gov. Rick Scott has signed a death warrant for a man convicted in the death of a prison guard. The governor’s office announced Friday that 58-year-old William Van Poyck is scheduled to die by lethal injection at Florida State Prison near Raiford at 6 p.m., June 12.
In June 1987, Van Poyck and co-defendant Frank Valdes ambushed two guards who were taking inmate James O’Brien in a prison van to a doctor’s office in West Palm Beach. Corrections officer Fred Griffis died after being shot three times. Van Poyck and Valdes were unable to free O’Brien and were arrested a short time later when Valdes lost control of the Cadillac he was driving and struck a tree.
Van Poyck has taken responsibility for the slaying but denied he was the triggerman.
Florida GOP names director
Juston Johnson will be the new executive director of the Republican Party of Florida, party chairman Lenny Curry announced. Johnson most recently worked as a National Field Director for the Republican National Committee.
He also worked as campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party.
Judge lets Cuban spy stay in Cuba permanently
A federal judge has agreed to allow a convicted Cuban spy to remain in Cuba permanently so long as he renounces his U.S. citizenship. The decision by U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard means that the first of the so-called “Cuban Five” spy ring will be returning to his homeland for good. Four others remain imprisoned in the U.S.
Rene Gonzalez was released from prison in October but remained on three years’ probation. The Justice Department initially opposed his request to serve probation in Cuba. This week that opposition was dropped when Gonzalez offered to renounce his U.S. citizenship while temporarily in Cuba following the death of his father.
DEA collects 14 tons of unused prescription drugs
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration collected more than 14 tons of unused or expired prescription drugs during a recent drug take-back day in Florida. The DEA and other agencies collected the drugs at 124 sites across Florida on April 27. It was the sixth such take-back day in Florida and around the country.
The goal is to get people to discard unused drugs that might be prone to abuse or may no longer be effective. Authorities say 70 percent of people abusing prescription drugs get them from friends and relatives.
Tiger cubs born at Busch Gardens
Busch Gardens says three endangered Malayan tiger cubs were born at its park, and one of the three cubs is in serious condition due to a rare feline skin disease.
The three cubs were born March 31. A Busch Gardens news release says Malayan tigers are rare and there are only about 500 in the wild in Southeast Asia.
Gov invites Nutneggers
Gov. Scott has added business leaders in Connecticut to his mailing list. Scott, who recently sent letters of invitation to businesses in Illinois and California, has stamped his views on the economic differences between the Sunshine State and the Nutmeg State to business leaders in Connecticut.
Post staff and wire reports.