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DeSantis Signs Death Warrant In Jacksonville Murder

Gov. Ron DeSantis
News Service of Florida
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed a death warrant for an inmate convicted of committing three murders in Florida, including a Jacksonville murder that sent him to Death Row.

The execution of Gary Ray Bowles is scheduled for Aug. 22 at Florida State Prison, according to documents the governor’s office filed late Tuesday afternoon at the state Supreme Court.

Bowles, 57, would be the second inmate put to death since DeSantis took office in January, with serial killer Bobby Joe Long executed on May 23. Bowles is serving life sentences in the 1994 murders of John Roberts in Volusia County and Albert Morris in Nassau County, according to documents filed at the Supreme Court and information on the Florida Department of Corrections website.

The death warrant, however, is for the November 1994 murder of Walter Hinton, who was found dead in his Jacksonville mobile home. A 1999 sentencing document included in the Supreme Court filing said Bowles brutally killed Hinton during a robbery.

It said Bowles brought a 40-pound stepping stone into the mobile home, put the stone on a table and sat down and thought for a few moments.

“He then entered Mr. Hinton’s bedroom and dropped the cement stepping stone on Mr. Hinton’s face,” the sentencing document said. “Mr. Hinton sustained a skull fracture which extended on the right side of his face across his cheek to the roots of his teeth. Despite the force of this blow, Mr. Hinton did not die or lose complete consciousness. In an effort to save his life, Mr. Hinton struggled with the defendant.”

The document said Hinton was then choked and had toiled paper stuffed down his throat, with a rag placed over the toilet paper. A memorandum released Tuesday evening by the governor's office said Bowles also confessed to murdering men in Georgia and Maryland and that evidence suggested he targeted gay men.