ST. PETERSBURG (CBSMiami/AP) – On Florida’s death row for more than three decades, a twice-convicted murderer was executed Wednesday night for the rape and murder of a St. Petersburg woman.
Robert Waterhouse, 65, was pronounced dead at 8:22 p.m., after claiming his innocence one last time in the death chamber at Florida State Prison near Starke. Waterhouse lingered on death row longer than any of the previous 276 people executed by the state, according to the Department of Corrections. He’s spent more than 31 years mostly by himself in a 6-by-9-foot cell as his various appeals worked their way through the courts.
The execution was scheduled to take place at 6 p.m., but was delayed for several hours as the U.S. Supreme Court considered a last minute appeal, which was rejected. A similar appeal was rejected earlier in the day.
Waterhouse, 65, met for two hours Tuesday morning with his wife Fran. They met and married while he was behind bars.
He also ate a final meal of two pork chop cutlets, two eggs sunny side up, two pieces of toast, a slice of cherry pie, a pint of butter pecan ice cream, a pint of orange juice and a pint of milk.
Waterhouse was convicted in 1980 of murdering Deborah Kammerer of St. Petersburg. Her body was found in the tidal flats of Tampa Bay. She’d been beaten, raped and dragged into the bay.
Unable to identify her immediately, police turned to the public for help. Neighbors identified Kammerer’s body, and an anonymous tipster led police to Waterhouse, who was on parole for a New York killing.
He had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for killing a 77-year-old Long Island woman during a 1966 burglary. He was sentenced to life but was paroled after eight years.
In the Kammerer case, a bartender had seen her and Waterhouse leave a St. Petersburg bar together. Blood, hair and fibers in Waterhouse’s car were linked to the victim. Waterhouse admitted having sex with Kammerer but denied killing her.
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