Oscar Ray Bolin, a serial killer convicted of murdering three Tampa Bay area women, was executed by lethal injection on Thursday in Florida.
According the Associated Press, reported via MSN, Gov. Rick Scott’s office confirmed that Bolin was pronounced dead by lethal injection at 10:16 p.m. at the Florida State Prison in Starke, Florida. Bolin was originally scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m., however, the execution was delayed until the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Bolin’s final appeal. The process started at 10:05 p.m. and Bolin was pronounced dead at 10:16 p.m.
When asked if he had any last words, Bolin simply said, “No sir.”
Scott signed the death warrant in October for the 1986 murder of Teri Lynn Matthews, who was 26-years-old at the time. Matthews was abducted from a post office in Pasco County, which is located just north of Tampa in 1986, and was later found dead from stab wounds. Bolin also received a death sentence for the murder of 17-year-old Stephanie Collins and 25-year-old Natalie Holley. However, Holley’s verdict was later overturned due to errors in the legal department.
— People magazine (@people) January 8, 2016
There were 36 witnesses to Bolin’s execution, including family members from Teri, Stephanie, and Natalie. Matthews’ mother Kathleen Reeves thanked a key witness against Bolin – his half-brother Phillip Bolin, who testified in 1986 that he had witnessed his brother beating a woman who was wrapped in a sheet, according to the Tampa Bay Times. That woman was later identified as Teri Lynn Matthews.
“God bless you Phillip for your courage,” Reeves said, “and for doing the right thing.”
Reeves added that it didn’t matter that Bolin was not executed for all three of the women “because he only dies once.”
“He dies for all of our girls,” she said. “We miss you Teri. You were the sunshine in our lives. Rest in peace my darling daughter.”
“We all miss Stephanie every day,” Donna Witmer, the mother of Stephanie Collins, said. “I can’t have her back, but I’ll have sweet memories.”
“He has had a life, no matter how limited that life was,” said Erika Gomez, Collins’ best friend. “My girlfriend’s life was ended; she didn’t have the opportunity to marry like he did.”
— Amy Kaufeldt (@Fox35Amy) January 8, 2016
The marriage Gomez was referring to was the one between Bolin and a member of his defense team, Rosalie Martinez, who was a former paralegal at the Hillsborough Public Defender’s office married to a Florida attorney. While Bolin was on trial, he and Martinez fell in love, prompting her to divorce her husband and marry Bolin on live television in 1996, 10 years after he committed the brutal murders, in front of over 12 million viewers.
Both Bolin and Martinez maintained his innocence, even though 10 different juries found him guilty of the murders. On Wednesday, January 6, Bolin told the Fox 13 television station that he is innocent and never once met the women he is accused of murdering.
“I didn’t know ’em, never seen ’em, never met ’em,” he said.
“My conscience is clear,” Bolin added. “I’m at peace with myself. It’s my release. My punishment’s over. After 28 years of this, being in this box for 28 years, it’s a release. My punishment’s over. They can’t hurt me no more.”
Death penalty protesters gather outside the state prison in Starke where Oscar Ray Bolin is to be executed tonight. pic.twitter.com/wSkGjftvpM
— Rick (@Fox13Chief) January 8, 2016
The tip that led the police to Bolin for the three murders came from Bolin’s ex-wife’s new husband. His wife claimed Bolin had told her about the murders, and her husband later tipped off the police by calling in on the Indiana Crime Stoppers tip line. When the authorities first confronted Bolin about the killings, he was already serving a 22- to 75-year prison sentence in an Ohio prison for a 1987 rape of a 20-year-old woman outside of Toledo. Bolin’s cousin Douglas Tedrow also told the police that he and Bolin had kidnapped and raped Deborah Diane Stowe, 30, in 1987 in Greenville, Texas. She died after Bolin strangled her, according to Tedrow.
[Photo by Chris Urso/AP]