Executed January 11, 2001 by Lethal Injection in Florida
W / M / 22 - 39 W / F / 34
3rd murderer executed in U.S. in 2001
686th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in Florida in 2001
51st murderer executed in Florida since 1976
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder-Execution)
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder)
Robert Dewey Glock, II
Schoolteacher was kidnapped at gunpoint from mall parking lot, then forced to withdraw money from account at bank. Drove 60 miles and shot in woods. Joint trial with accomplice Carl Pulatti. Both sentenced to death.
W / M / 22 - 39
W / F / 34
Puiatti v. State, 495 So.2d 128 (Fla. 1986).
Glock v. Dugger, 537 So.2d 99 (Fla. 1989).
Glock v. Dugger, 752 F.Supp. 1027 (M.D. Fla. 1990).
Glock v. Singletary, 65 F.3d 878 (11th Cir. 1995).
Glock v. Singletary, 36 F.3d 1014 (11th Cir. 1994).
Glock v. Singletary, 84 F.3d 385 (11th Cir. 1996).
Glock v. Moore, 195 F.3d 625 (11th Cir. 1999).
Florida Department of Corrections
January 12, 2001 - "Robert Glock Executed"
STARKE (AP) -- A man who killed a home economics teacher after robbing her of $100 and her wedding ring sobbed and said he was sorry before being executed by injection Thursday. ''I killed Ms. Ritchie,'' Robert Glock said in his final statement before a cocktail of deadly drugs was injected into his veins. ''I'm sorry for it.'' Glock, strapped to a gurney, sobbed as he gave a two-minute statement, mentioning that he loved his family and saying that he didn't blame the people on the execution team, because they were just doing their job. ''I believe that killing to prove that killing is wrong, is wrong,'' he said.
The victim's father, Kermit Johnson, said in a statement from his home in Palmetto that the Aug. 13, 1983, murder of his daughter, Sharilyn Johnson Ritchie, destroyed his family. ''After 17 plus years, we are still devastated,'' he said. ''This will not bring back our loved one. Our lives changed that fateful August day.'' Glock's wife, Sheila, joined about a dozen anti-death penalty protesters in a pasture across the highway from the prison. ''Execution by the state is premeditated murder,'' said Mrs. Glock, who married the death row inmate in September after meeting him over the Internet.
Glock, 39, was pronounced dead at 6:28 p.m., about 13 minutes after the injection of lethal chemicals began. The start of the execution was delayed for a few minutes because execution staff had trouble finding a vein in Glock's left arm. The injection was administered through a vein in the back of Glock's right hand. Another delay came after Warden James Crosby read Glock his death warrant. Glock took a few moments to ''engage the warden in conversation,'' and express his remorse for the killing, said C.J. Drake, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Corrections. Glock gasped and his chin quivered for a few seconds after the procedure began, then his body went still. He declined to take a shot of Valium.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied Glock's final appeals Thursday morning. The applications were filed with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who referred them to the full court. There was no dissent in the denials. Glock is the first inmate executed in Florida this year and the 51st since the state resumed executions in 1979.
He was given a final meal Thursday morning of New York strip steak, fried shrimp, green beans, Coca-Cola and ice cream. Prior to the execution, Drake said Glock was chatting with a prison chaplain, who served him communion. ''He was calm, he was relaxed,'' Drake said. Glock spent his final days visiting with family members.
Ritchie, who taught at Palmetto High School in Manatee County, was kidnapped at gunpoint at a Bradenton shopping mall on Aug. 16, 1983. Glock and Carl Puiatti, 38, who is on death row, stole her wedding ring and forced her to withdraw $100 from a bank. They then drove her in her car north 60 miles to Pasco County. They released her in an orange grove near Dade City, handing her a sun visor, her purse and her husband's baseball mitt. They started to drive way, but then decided to kill her. They shot her, then came back and shot her again. She managed to walk about 10 yards before collapsing for the last time. When her body was found, she was clutching the leather mitt to her chest. Five days later, the two men were stopped by a New Jersey state trooper. They confessed to the murder and in 1984 Circuit Judge Wayne Cobb sentenced them to death.
Defense attorney Terri Backhus argued in appeals that Glock was unfairly barred from appealing the standard jury instructions given at his trial because his first appeal team, heeding clear rulings by the Florida Supreme Court that the instructions were constitutional, hadn't appealed them. The U.S. Supreme Court later found the instructions unconstitutional.
Sharilyn Ritchie, a 34-year-old Manatee County schoolteacher, had just parked her car at a Bradenton mall on Aug. 16, 1983, when she was kidnapped at gunpoint by Glock and a cohort, Carl Puiatti. They stole her wedding ring, forced her to withdraw $100 from a bank, then drove her car north 60 miles to Pasco County. They released her in an orange grove just south of Dade City and handed her a sun visor, her purse and her husband's baseball mitt. They started to drive away, then decided to kill her because she could identify them. Glock and Puiatti returned three times and fired numerous shots at Mrs. Ritchie. She managed to walk about 10 yards before collapsing for the last time. When authorities found her body, she was clutching the leather mitt to her chest. 5 days later, Glock and Puiatti were picked up by a New Jersey state trooper who could not read the license plate on Mrs. Ritchie's car. Glock and Puiatti both confessed to the murder, and in 1984 they were convicted and sentenced to death by a Pasco circuit judge. Puiatti, now 38, is still on death row. A date for his execution has not been set. The relatives of Sharilyn Ritchie said Wednesday that they will take no pleasure in Glock's execution. "We forgive him," said Mrs. Ritchie's sister, Rebecca Burke. "We have no animosity for him." Glock said his biggest regret was that he "didn't find God sooner. Mrs. Ritchie wouldn't be dead."
The Lamp of Hope (The Sun Sentinel & Rick Halperin)
January 11, 2001 FLORIDA - An inmate whose execution was stayed in December by a Florida Supreme Court busy with presidential election disputes was executed by lethal injection Thursday at Florida State Prison. Robert Glock, 39, was pronounced dead at 6:28 p.m., said Katie Baur, spokeswoman for Gov. Jeb Bush.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied Glock's final appeals Thursday morning. The applications were filed with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who referred them to the full court. There was no dissent in the denials. Glock was convicted in the 1983 kidnap-slaying of Sharilyn Johnson Ritchie, 34, who taught home economics. Defense attorney Terri Backhus of Tampa said Wednesday that she spoke frequently with her client as the execution time drew near. He was hoping for another favorable court ruling and was "of course concerned, ... but he's actually been in good spirits."Glock spent his final days visiting with family members.
Ritchie, who taught at Palmetto High School in Manatee County, was kidnapped at gunpoint at a Bradenton shopping mall on Aug. 16, 1983.
Glock and Carl Puiatti, 38, who is on death row, stole her wedding ring and forced her to withdraw $100 from a bank. They then drove her in her car north 60 miles to Pasco County. They released her in an orange grove near Dade City, handing her a sun visor, her purse and her husband's baseball mitt. They started to drive way, but then decided to kill her. They shot her, then came back and shot her again. She managed to walk about 10 yards before collapsing for the last time. When her body was found, she was clutching the leather mitt to her chest. 5 days later, the 2 men were stopped by a New Jersey state trooper. They confessed to the murder and in 1984 Circuit Judge Wayne Cobb sentenced them to death.
Backhus argued in appeals that Glock was unfairly barred from appealing the standard jury instructions given at his trial because his 1st appeal team, heeding clear rulings by the Florida Supreme Court that the instructions were constitutional, hadn't appealed them. The U.S. Supreme Court later found the instructions unconstitutional.
Glock becomes the 1st condemned prisoner to be put to death this year in Florida and the 51st overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1979. Glock becomes the 3rd condemned prisoner to be put to death this year in the USA and the 686th overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.
Florida Catholic Conference Plea For Mercy
The 1983 murder of Sharilyn Richie was a terrible crime and we express our sincere sympathy for her brutalization and loss of life. Robert D. Glock is scheduled to die for this crime at 6:00 p.m. on January 11, 2001, after a brief stay by the Florida Supreme Court. Once again, we ask Governor Bush to halt this execution.
The added violence of this execution is harmful to our society. Florida law provides for the alternative of life imprisonment without parole. This legitimized killing by the state coarsens us all. It is only when society cannot be protected in any other way that the death penalty is justified. We diminish ourselves as a people by taking away a human life. Every human life must be respected, even lives of those who fail to show that respect for others.
Society needs to be protected from criminals, but we need not go to the extent of executing them. The cycle of violence must end. We must seek justice without vengeance. "As I live, says the Lord God, I swear I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but rather that he may be converted and live ." (Cf. Ezekiel 33:11)
We are a government of, for and by the people. Let those speak loudly who agree that these executions are not taking place in our names. We appeal to Governor Bush for mercy in the case of Robert D. Glock, II.
Friday, January 12, 2001 - "At Death, Glock Says He's Sorry; Robert Glock is executed for killing Sharilyn Ritchie of Palmetto 17 years ago," by Howard M. Unger.
Sharilyn Ritchie died clutching her husband's baseball glove, the only comfort she could find in her final moments. She had pleaded for it before the two men who kidnapped her from DeSoto Square Mall in Bradenton took her car and left her in an orange grove. One of her killers, Robert Dewey Glock, died Thursday strapped to a gurney, a lone tube stuck in his right arm. More than 17 years after kidnapping Ritchie from the mall in broad daylight and sending a community into shock, Glock was pronounced dead at Florida State Prison at 6:28 p.m. The state's first execution of 2001, a series of eight deadly injections, took 13 minutes. The first intravenous injections, administered at 6:15 p.m., contained sodium pentothal, a sedative used to relax the human nervous system. The second series contained pancuronium bromide, a chemical used to stop breathing. And finally, Glock received a fatal dose of potassium chloride, stopping his heart. Glock gasped and his chin quivered for a few seconds after the procedure began; then his body went still. He declined to take a shot of Valium.
Glock is the 51st inmate executed since the state resumed executions in 1979. In a three-minute statement before dying, an often tearful Glock expressed remorse for his crime and denounced the death penalty. "I killed Mrs. Ritchie," he said. "I'm sorry for it." Later, he said, "I believe that killing to prove that killing is wrong, is wrong." With that, he expressed his love for his family and told witnesses in between deep breaths that he was "ready to go see Jesus."
Ritchie, who taught at Palmetto High School in Manatee County, was kidnapped at gunpoint Aug. 13, 1983. Glock, 39, and Carl Puiatti, 38, who is on death row, stole her wedding ring and forced her to withdraw $100 from a bank. They then drove her in her car 60 miles north to Pasco County. They released her in an orange grove near Dade City, handing her a sun visor, her purse and her husband's baseball mitt. They started to drive away, then decided to kill her. They shot her, came back and shot her again. She managed to walk about 10 yards before collapsing for the last time. Five days later, the two men were stopped by a New Jersey state trooper. They confessed to the murder and in 1984 Circuit Judge Wayne Cobb sentenced them to death.
Glock's latest round of appeals brought the case back in front of Cobb, a judge known for his candor. Glock's attorney, Terri Backhus, argued that her client was the victim of racial profiling when Glock was stopped by a New Jersey state trooper four days after the murder. On Jan. 5, the Florida Supreme Court disagreed. And in recent days, so, too, did the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. At 11:30 a.m. Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court followed suit.
At the same time, Glock was finishing a last meal of New York strip steak and fried shrimp. It was accompanied by french fries, green beans and Coca-Cola and followed by a bowl of heavenly hash ice cream. He ate it early to avoid complications with the execution and, for security reasons, he used a plastic spoon. In prison, Glock found religion and love. In September, he married a woman he met through an Internet matching service used to start letter-writing exchanges with death row inmates. Thursday morning, she, two of Glock's half-sisters and two of their daughters paid their last respects before the prison chaplain offered communion. "My husband had a tremendous amount of faith," said Sheila Glock, who traveled from Gary, Ind., with her family. "He has been sorry for Mrs. Ritchie's death for all these years. If it could have been him, he would have given his life." More than 17 years later, he did just that. "When they do these executions, they have to realize that there are families," she said while standing outside the prison, where she and about two dozen protesters lit candles, sang and prayed as the state administered its death sentence. "My husband did something bad, but so did they."
In Palmetto, Ritchie's father, Kermit Johnson, paraphrased President Franklin D. Roosevelt's radio address after Pearl Harbor was bombed to describe the day his daughter was killed. "August 13, 1983, for our family, is a day that will live in infamy just as December 7, 1941, did for our nation," he said. "We were devastated that day. And after court actions, judicial renderings and multiple appeals, we are still devastated." Johnson said he would find no solace in Glock's execution. It would not make up for the loss of his "dearest miracle." Puiatti is still waiting on death row, more than 16 years after being sentenced. "That only solves 50 percent of the problem," Johnson said after Thursday's execution.
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Robert Glock will be killed on Dec. 8, 2000 at 6:00pm (EST) in revenge for his participation in the murder of Sharilyn Ritchie. There is no question of guilt in this case. Glock is contesting this execution and according to one e-mail exchange I saw over the weekend, he may still get a stay.
Robert Glock’s life was marked by neglect and violence. It is scheduled to end by execution on December 8. Together with his co-defendant Carl Puiatti he was sentenced to death for the 1983 murder of Sharilyn Ritchie. Both defendants were convicted in a joined trial, although Robert’s lawyers had asked for separate proceedings. Furthermore Robert’s defense counsel failed to properly investigate and present evidence of petitioner’s childhood abuse, his mental disturbance, and the domination by his co-defendant. He did not obtain available information and important mitigating evidence from Robert’s family. By doing so he failed to aid the mental health experts in showing the deficiencies in Robert’s character. Throughout his lifetime Robert was searching for love and support but in turn he was neglected. As a child Robert suffered under an abusive and alcoholic mother. According to Roberts sister, Tammy Glock, she “spent most of her time drunk. When she would vomit all over herself we would clean her up and put her in bed so that our stepfather wouldn’t know that she had been drinking. If we didn’t help her in this way, she would get furious at us...We were just too scared not to do anything to keep her from beating us... She would dress (Bobby) up like a little girl and make him to go to school like that. Bobby would try to sneak normal clothes out of the house with him, but if she caught him, she would beat him badly... She did not approve who he was. She did not like him because of who his father was”. Robert was not allowed to play with his peers and after he had tried to run away several times, he was sent to a foster home at age thirteen. Within a year he moved to his father’s in Florida.
There he would endure even more pain, this time by his stepmother. She was jealous at him and considered him a danger to her children’s status, and although Robert desired her sympathy she would be violent against him. As a result of his upbringing Robert never developed a healthy self-esteem. Showing self-defeating and schizoid traits, Robert also suffered under Post-Traumatic Stress-Disorder. He was small of stature and became easily dependant on others. Soon he was a follower and an easily led pleaser of people who would make him feel comfortable. At the end this is why he became involved in the killing of Sharilyn Ritchie.
According to Doctor Merikangas, “Robert Glock has a passive dependant personality disorder and is subject to undue influence and domination. In my opinion, Robert was under the domination of Mr. Puiatti during the offense. If not for this domination and influence by Mr. Puiatti, Robert would not have participated in such an offense”. In contrast to his co-defendant, Robert had no significant history of prior criminal activity. He is also deeply remorseful for what he did and evaluations have found him to be a good candidate for rehabilitation.
St. Petersburg Times
January 12, 2001 - Glock: 'I killed Ms. Ritchie. I'm sorry for it' - Robert Dewey Glock II makes his final statement, closes his eyes and is executed Thursday at Florida State Prison. By CARY DAVIS.
STARKE -- With just minutes to live Thursday evening, Robert Dewey Glock II couldn't wait until the brown curtains of the execution chamber were pulled opened to make his final statement. It was past 6 p.m., the scheduled time for his execution, but Glock was busy telling Florida State Prison Warden James Crosby that he was sorry for the murder of Sharilyn Ritchie, a Manatee County schoolteacher. The execution already had been delayed several minutes while doctors struggled to find a suitable vein in Glock's arm, but Crosby heard the condemned man out. Then, at 6:12 p.m., the curtains were snapped back, revealing Glock strapped to a gurney and covered with a sheet. Glock nodded at one of his attorneys seated in the front row of the witness room, then looked up to the microphone hanging from the ceiling of the brightly-lit execution chamber. "Hey everybody," he said with a slight smile, then paused for a moment as tears welled in his eyes. "I killed Ms. Ritchie. I'm sorry for it." He ended his statement two minutes later, saying, "I'm ready to go see Jesus," then shut his eyes as Crosby signaled to an executioner, hidden behind a one-way mirror, to start the procedure. At 6:16 p.m., the mixture of deadly chemicals now coursing through his veins, Glock's chest began to rise and fall in convulsive gasps, and his lips fluttered. A minute later his body relaxed and his face started to turn blue. A prison doctor declared Glock dead at 6:28 p.m.
Glock, 39, became the seventh Florida inmate to be executed by lethal injection since the state abandoned its mistake-prone electric chair in 1999. Glock was condemned for the 1983 slaying of Mrs. Ritchie, a 34-year-old home economics teacher at Palmetto High School, in a Dade City orange grove. Mrs. Ritchie, who had taken a year off from teaching to have a baby with her husband, had just parked her car at a Bradenton shopping mall when she was kidnapped at gunpoint by Glock and a cohort, Carl Puiatti. Glock and Puiatti stole her car and her wedding ring, forced her to withdraw $100 from an ATM, then drove her 60 miles north to Pasco County. They initially agreed to release her, and handed her a sun visor, her purse and her husband's baseball mitt. They started to drive away, then decided to kill her because they feared she could identify them. They made three passes in the car, shooting Mrs. Ritchie numerous times until she finally collapsed, clutching the baseball glove to her chest. Five days later, Glock and Puiatti were pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike by a trooper who couldn't read the license plate on Mrs. Ritchie's car. They both confessed and in 1984 they were tried together, convicted and sentenced to death. Puiatti, 38, remains on death row. A date for his execution has not been set.
"Solace will not come for us with the execution today," Mrs. Ritchie's father, Kermit Johnson, said in a telephone interview Thursday night from his Manatee County home. "One of the most valuable and dearest miracles from God, our daughter Sharilyn, was taken from us by a heinous crime."
In September, unaware that Gov. Jeb Bush was about to sign his death warrant, Glock married a 45-year-old steelworker from Gary, Ind., he met on the Internet. "If he could have given his life for Mrs. Ritchie, he would have," Sheila Glock-Garrett said after the execution. "I'm proud of my husband." Glock spent his last day visiting with family members and his legal team, then took communion from a prison chaplain. Using a plastic spoon -- inmates aren't allowed to eat with forks or knives -- Glock polished off his final meal of New York strip cut into small pieces, fried shrimp, french fries, green beans, Coca-Cola and Heavenly Hash ice cream. "He was calm, relaxed," C.J. Drake, spokesman for the Florida Department of Corrections, told reporters. "He seemed fairly composed."
Glock's execution originally was scheduled for early December, but on the day before he was scheduled to die, the Florida Supreme Court granted him a temporary stay, saying it was too busy with the presidential voting matter to hear his appeal. On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected all of Glock's arguments.
St. Petersburg Times
January 5, 2001 - State Supreme Court Weighs Man's Death Sentence - His lawyer says he was pulled over because he was white, voiding any evidence found during the stop. By CHASE SQUIRES
Defense attorney Terri Backhus took her bid to save the life of killer Robert Dewey Glock II to the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday, facing questions from justices who sounded equally skeptical of the defense and the prosecution. Live audio and video from the 45-minute session were carried on the Internet from Tallahassee. Backhus renewed arguments rejected last month by Circuit Judge Wayne Cobb in Dade City that Glock and co-hort Carl Puiatti -- both white -- were the victims of New Jersey State Police racial profiling. They were stopped on the New Jersey turnpike and arrested after kidnapping 34-year-old schoolteacher Sharilyn Ritchie from a Bradenton mall in 1983 before driving her to Dade City, where they shot her to death. Both men were sentenced to death.
Backhus was appointed in November to represent Glock before his scheduled December execution. Within days, she said 91,000 pages of newly released New Jersey State Police documents could show that her client was stopped illegally. Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente on Thursday wondered how Glock, 38, could have been the victim of racial bias. "Isn't it a problem that your client is not a member of the protected class, in that he is not a racial minority?" she asked. Backhus said it was not just black motorists who were victims of racial profiling -- a controversial policing technique that encouraged agents to focus on specific races for traffic stops in a bid to slow drug traffic. "It became more an instance of not just being one particular race that was being profiled. It was Hispanics, blacks, it was Italians, Chinese," she said. "One of the two members of the party, Mr. Puiatti, is Italian-American, which is one of the ethnic groups that they were targeting. It was obvious that there was a pattern of choosing -- picking and choosing different races as the basis for the stop." Backhus has said that if the stop were illegal, then prosecutors could not use statements the men made after their arrest, nor could they use evidence -- including a pistol -- collected during the stop.
Backhus argued the same thing before Cobb, asking the judge to hold a full hearing, during which the trooper who made the stop could testify about the stop that led to the men's arrest and subsequent confessions. Trooper William Moore has testified that he stopped the car Glock and Puiatti were riding in because their license tag was unreadable. After Backhus' appeal before Cobb last month, Moore, who is black, again said he did not use racial profiling when he stopped the pair.
Glock was scheduled to be executed Dec. 8, but the Supreme Court agreed to hear Backhus' appeal. The justices did not immediately issue a ruling after hearing her arguments Thursday. Six days after the Supreme Court held up the December execution, Gov. Jeb Bush signed a new death warrant, setting Glock's execution for 6 p.m. Jan. 11.
While justices peppered Backhus with questions about legal procedure and the strength of her argument, they pondered aloud the constitutional issues of fair searches and equal protection for all citizens, the executive powers of the governor, the interpretation of legislative intent, and past case law. They sounded equally skeptical of arguments by Bob Landry, an lawyer with the state Attorney General's Office. Landry's position was that the legality of the stop had been hashed out in lower courts and even upheld by the state Supreme Court. There was no need to go over it again. Besides, he argued, Glock is white. Really there is no particular claim that the defendant can make at this time," Landry said. "The defendant -- both he and his co-defendant, colleague, Mr. Puiatti -- were both Caucasian." Both Justice Leander Shaw and Justice Harry Lee Anstead wondered aloud that if racial profiling improperly targeted Puiatti because of his Italian descent, then maybe Glock's arrest would also have been improper, because the two were together.
In 1987, when he was originally scheduled for execution, Glock wanted to be executed, he told the Times last month. He said he was suicidal and depressed, and felt empty inside. Now, he said, it's different. He said he has a strong belief in God and wants to share more time with his new family -- in September he married a 45-year-old steelworker and mother of six from Gary, Ind. The Supreme Court did not immediately set a date when the justices would return with a ruling.
The Gainesville Sun
Friday, January 12, 2001 - "Glock Executed For 1983 Killing," by A.P. Thompson.
STARKE - A man who confessed to a 1983 murder and kidnapping apologized for his crime Thursday just before he was executed. Robert Glock, 39, shot and killed Sharilyn Johnson Ritchie, a 34-year-old home economics teacher at Palmetto High School in Manatee County. As he was strapped to a gurney in the execution chamber at Florida State Prison near Starke, Glock told witnesses he was sorry for his crime. "Hey everybody," Glock said as a brown curtain concealing him from witnesses and reporters was pulled back at 6:12 p.m., "I killed Ms. Ritchie. I'm sorry for it. I'll be seeing her when I go to see Jesus."
Glock's execution -- set to begin at 6 p.m. -- was delayed because prison doctors had trouble locating veins in Glock's arms, said Florida Department of Corrections spokesman C.J. Drake. A second delay was caused when Glock tried to speak to James Crosby, the prison warden, to "amplify his remorse over his crime," Drake said. Drake said he did not know if Crosby responded. A vein just above Glock's right wrist was finally used to administer three separate drugs that rendered him unconscious, paralyzed his muscles and then stopped his heart. Glock was pronounced dead at 6:28 p.m., 13 minutes after the drugs began flowing into his body.
Glock won a 30-day emergency stay of execution in December from the Florida Supreme Court so his lawyer, Terri Backhus of Tampa, could file last-minute appeals. But the U.S. Supreme Court denied his final appeal Thursday morning. In his final statement, Glock -- who was visibly nervous and sobbed slightly before the procedure -- said he loved his family. He said he didn't hold correctional officers responsible for his death. He declined a Valium, which is normally offered Death Row inmates before their sentence is carried out.
"These guys are only doing their job," he said with his lips and chin trembling, "but I believe that killing to prove that killing is wrong, is wrong." He then paused briefly while staring at the ceiling and then said, "I'm ready to go see Jesus." He continued to talk after the microphone was turned off. Two minutes later, he let out a final gasp.
About 25 protesters, including Glock's wife, Sheila, stood outside the prison singing and holding candles. "If he could have given his life for hers, he would have," a crying Sheila Glock said after the execution. "He was sorry for his crime all these years. My husband did wrong, yes, but so is the state. It's nothing but premeditated murder." The two met over the Internet five years ago and married Sept. 13.
Glock confessed to the abduction and slaying he and another man, Carl Puiatti, 38, committed when Glock was 21 years old. On Aug. 16, 1983, the two men approached Ritchie at gunpoint as she got out of her car at a Bradenton shopping mall. After robbing her, they drove her more than 60 miles to an orange grove outside Dade City, where they stole her wedding ring and gave Ritchie her purse, a visor and her husband's baseball mitt before dropping her off. They drove away but then decided to kill her and returned. Puiatti shot her twice. After driving off a second time, the men noticed she was still standing. They drove back again and Glock shot her a third time. When her body was found, Ritchie was hugging the glove to her chest. Glock and Puiatti were stopped several days later in New Jersey by police for an illegible license plate. The men then confessed the murder to police.
Backhus argued in an appeal that New Jersey police used racial profiling tactics to pull the men over, resulting in an inadmissible confession. Backhus said police were taught to pull over people who looked like Italians because they are more likely to be involved in organized crime. The appeal was denied Jan. 5 by the state Supreme Court. Puiatti is also on Florida's Death Row. No date has been set for his execution. (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
Jewish World Review
"There is Something Wrong When We Begin to Assume That All Death Penalty Cases are Flawed," by Bob Greene. (January 30, 2001)
I FAVOR the death penalty and believe it is just. I also deeply admire the attorneys and journalists who have investigated cases in which people have been put on Death Row who do not belong there. That is a crime in itself. But there is something wrong when we begin to assume that perhaps all death penalty cases are flawed. They're not.
As far as I can tell, no one has spoken much about the injustice done to a woman named Sharilyn Ritchie. She was not accused of harming anyone. She herself was murdered. A second injustice to her -- in my opinion --was done in the years after she was killed. One of her murderers -- Robert D. Glock -- was executed this month in Florida. He killed Mrs. Ritchie in 1983. He was finally put to death this month. That is where I believe the injustice comes in. Glock was allowed to live for almost 18 years after he killed Mrs. Ritchie.
She was a 34-year-old home economics teacher at Palmetto High School in Florida. She had taken a year off to have a baby with her husband, Larry, who had been a baseball coach at the same school. On Aug. 13, 1983, Mrs. Ritchie stepped out of her car at the DeSoto Square Mall to go shopping. She was met by Robert Glock and an accomplice, Carl Puiatti (Puiatti remains on Death Row today).
What happened next is not in question; the killers admitted it. They forced Mrs. Ritchie to withdraw $100 from a drive-through ATM. She begged them for two things: to allow her to keep her wedding ring, and her husband's baseball mitt. She used to attend the games her husband coached, and evidently the mitt meant a lot to her. They took the wedding ring, but let her have the mitt. They put her out of her car in an orange grove. They drove away, but came back. Puiatti shot Mrs. Ritchie twice with a .38-caliber Colt revolver. They started to leave again, but noticed Mrs. Ritchie might still be alive. So they returned, and Glock shot her again. She still seemed to be alive. Glock shot her once more, and Mrs. Ritchie stopped moving. She died while holding onto her husband's baseball mitt.
They were arrested and sentenced to die in the electric chair. But because of the various appeals and protections given to Death Row inmates, Glock -- who killed Mrs. Ritchie in 1983, who admitted it and who was convicted in 1984 -- was still alive and being sheltered, clothed and fed by the State of Florida in 2000. Glock received a final stay of execution last year when his attorney argued that, when police in New Jersey arrested Glock in Mrs. Ritchie's car, the police had made Glock a victim of racial profiling. Glock is not African-American. His attorney argued Glock and Puiatti were unfairly pulled over because they looked Italian. A Florida judge soon rejected that argument, and Glock was executed this month.
He died by lethal injection even though he had been sentenced to the electric chair. New rules in Florida -- put in place after murderers apparently suffered during their executions -- allow Death Row inmates their choice of the method of execution. (Mrs. Ritchie was not given a choice of how she would die.) Glock was given a final meal of New York strip steak, fried shrimp, french fries, green beans, corn on the cob, Coca-Cola and heavenly hash ice cream. (Glock did not give Mrs. Ritchie a choice of her last meal.)
For almost 18 years after Glock killed Mrs. Ritchie, he was allowed to laugh at television comedies, to enjoy the sound of music, to fall in love (he got married while in prison to a woman he met on the Internet), to speak and correspond with people he cared for, to follow whatever sports events and political stories interested him, to develop whatever friendships he could make while behind bars, to hope and dream. In short, Glock was allowed to live.
Mrs. Ritchie was allowed none of that. She was not granted a single extra day of life. She was executed on that August day in 1983, without a trial, without appeals, without her pleas for mercy being answered -- except with more gunshots. Yes, there are injustices in capital cases -- and sometimes they concern people accused of crimes they did not commit. But there was an injustice in this case, too. The injustice was to Sharilyn Ritchie. The injustice was that Robert Glock was permitted to live and breathe for 18 years after he killed her.