Donald Dillbeck Executed 32 Years After Death Sentence

Donald Dillbeck, 59, was executed by the state of Florida on Thursday, Feb. 23 after being convicted of the 1990 murder of Faye Lamb Vann in a Tallahassee mall parking lot.[0] At the time of the murder, Dillbeck had escaped from a work-release catering job in Gadsden County, where he was serving a life sentence for killing Lee County Deputy Dwight Lynn Hall, 31, in 1979, when he was 15.

Dillbeck’s execution came 32 years after he was sentenced to death and was preceded by attempts to overturn the death sentence. His attorneys sought the mercy of the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the death sentence was unconstitutional because it was not the result of a unanimous jury decision. The Supreme Court denied Dillbeck’s request to stop his execution from happening, denying a writ of certiorari on Feb. 22.[1]

Protesters gathered outside the Florida State Prison on Thursday, striking a tolling bell in honor of the prisoner in the hopes that the ringing could be heard from inside the prison walls.[2] Before his execution was carried out, Dillbeck gave his final words, criticizing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his policies.[3]

The Tallahassee Democrat quoted Dillbeck as saying, “I know I hurt people when I was young. I really messed up,”[1] “But I know Ron DeSantis has done a lot worse. He’s taken a lot from a lot of people. I speak for all men, women and children. He’s put his foot on our necks. Ron DeSantis and other people like him can (expletive).”[2]

Dillbeck had requested a last meal consisting of fried shrimp, mushrooms, onion rings, ice cream, pecan pie and chocolate, which he ate at 9:45 a.m.[4] Michelle Glady, the Communications Director for the Florida Department of Corrections, said that the execution went as scheduled and took place without incident.[5] Family members of Vann were present for the execution and issued a statement that read: “11,932 days ago Donald Dillbeck brutally killed our mother.[2] We were robbed of years of memories with her and it has been very painful ever since.[2] However the execution has given us some closure. We are grateful to (the governor) for carrying out the sentence.

0. “Florida execution: DeSantis targeted in Donald Dillbeck’s last words” Tallahassee Democrat, 24 Feb. 2023,

1. “Death row inmate rages that DeSantis has ‘done a lot worse’ just before Florida executes him for murdering woman in mall parking lot” Law & Crime, 24 Feb. 2023,

2. “Protesters sang and prayed outside Florida State Prison as Donald Dillbeck was executed” WUFT, 24 Feb. 2023,

3. “Florida cop killer on death row eats last meal before execution” Fox News, 23 Feb. 2023,

4. “Donald Dillbeck executed in 1990 murder” WUWF, 24 Feb. 2023,

5. “Donald Dillbeck executed for killing a woman in Tallahassee in 1990” WTXL ABC 27 Tallahassee News, 23 Feb. 2023,

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