[Tallahassee, FL] Gov. Rick Scott has signed his first death warrant of the year.
Today, Scott signed a death warrant for Robert Waterhouse, who was convicted of first degree murder for the Jan. 1980 killing of Deborah Kammerer.
Florida State Prison Warden Steven Singer has set the execution for 6 p.m. on Feb. 15, 2012.
On the morning of Jan. 31, 1980, the body of an unidentified nude woman was found in the mud flats of Tampa Bay. The woman, later determined to have drowned, had been dragged from a grassy area on shore into the water at high tide. She had also been sexually assaulted.
Getting nowhere in solving the case, the St. Petersburg police turned to the public for help. The body was ID-ed by some neighbors. Eventually, an anonymous caller suggested that Robert Waterhouse may be to blame and offered up his license plate number.
Witnesses claimed to have seen Waterhouse and Kammerer leaving an ABC Lounge together at approximately 1 a.m. When questioned, Waterhouse denied knowing Kammerer. A subsequent search of his car revealed blood, hair strands and clothing fibers that matched the victim’s.
Waterhouse eventually admitted that he knew the girl. He was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death.
Throughout his many years in prison, Waterhouse has continued to file motions and appeals, some of them effective. Gov. Bob Graham signed Waterhouse’s first death warrant in 1985, but a stay of execution was granted by the State Circuit Court.
In 1988 he got another bite when the Florida Supreme Court granted Waterhouse’s petition for writ of habeas corpus and a new jury was assembled for re-sentencing. In 1990, the punishment was the same: the death penalty (by a vote of 12-0).
Waterhouse had killed before. In 1966 he pled guilty to second-degree murder charges for killing 77-year-old Ella Carter in New York.
Sentenced to life imprisonment, he was on lifetime parole when he murdered Kammerer.
By: Mark Christopher/Sunshine Slate