Oscar Ray Bolin Jr., To Be Killed Tonight, Is 23rd Execution on Gov. Scott’s Watch
FlaglerLive | January 7, 2016
Convicted murderer Oscar Ray Bolin Jr., is scheduled to die by lethal injection this evening (Jan. 7) at Florida State Prison near Starke. A federal appeals court on Monday rejected a stay of execution, clearing the way for what will be the 23rd execution on Gov. Rick Scott’s watch, by far the most of any Florida governor since the state reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Former Gov. Jeb Bush, who in November said he feels “conflicted” about the death penalty, signed the death warrants of 21 inmates in eight years. Another Florida inmate, Michael Ray Lambrix, is scheduled to be executed on Feb. 11.
Bolin, 53, argued in his appeal that another man confessed to the murder.
Bolin was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Teri Lynn Matthews, whose body was discovered on Dec. 5, 1986, near the side of a road in rural Pasco County. The body, according to court records, was found wrapped in a sheet imprinted with a St. Joseph’s Hospital logo. It had multiple head injuries, was shoeless, and was wet, although it had not rained recently. A single set of truck tires led to the body. The Matthews’s car, a red Honda, was found the next day by her boyfriend, Gary McClelland, at the Land O’ Lakes Post Office, with its headlights still on. The victim’s mail was found scattered on the ground, and her purse was found undisturbed on the seat inside her car, indicating that she had been abducted. McClelland had been worried about her disappearance and was tracing back her steps after she’d left work.
Bolin’s half-brother, Phillip, testified at trial that he was awakened by Bolin on the night of December 4, 1986. Bolin appeared to be nervous and told Phillip that he needed Phillip’s help. “The two walked outside,” according to an account transcribed in court papers, “and then Phillip heard a moaning sound, which he thought could have been a wounded dog. Instead, he saw a sheet-wrapped body, and Bolin told him that the girl was shot near the Land O’ Lakes Post Office. Bolin then walked over and straddled the body with his feet, raised a wooden stick with a metal end, and hit the body several times.
“Phillip said that he turned away because he was scared to watch, but compared the sound to hitting a pillow with a stick. Bolin next turned on a water hose and sprayed the body. Bolin demanded that Phillip help him load the body onto the back of a black Ford tow truck, and Phillip helped by picking up the body by the ankles. Phillip testified that he noticed there were no shoes on the body and that the girl was wearing pantyhose. Phillip refused Bolin’s offer of money to go with him to dispose of the body, so Bolin went alone and returned twenty to thirty minutes later. He continued talking to Phillip about the girl, stating that she had been shot in a drug deal.”
Bolin, however, was suspected to have raped the victim, based on a DNA sample of semen found on the victims’ pants.
Bolin’s execution takes place as the number of executions across the United States (28) fell to its lowest level since 1991, with the number of states abolishing the practice continuing to grow, while others pull back from executions. Arkansas and Pennsylvania have each stayed two executions this month. Ohio stayed one, and gave a reprieve to 11 inmates scheduled to die in 2016 following Gov. John Kasich’s decision in October to delay executions because of a shortage of execution drugs. In late December, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously upheld the governor’s authority to impose a moratorium on executions.
Florida has 400 inmates on death row. It has freed 24 inmates from death row, more than any other state, granting clemency to six of them.