Florida executes so-called 'Ninja Killer' Louis Gaskin for 1989 double-murder of New Jersey couple

April 14, 2023
Ben Marquis

The state of Florida on Wednesday carried out the execution of a 56-year-old convicted murderer named Louis Gaskin, who had been sentenced to death more than 30 years ago for the 1989 murders of a New Jersey couple at their winter home in the Sunshine State, Fox News reported.

He was executed by way of lethal injection shortly after 6 pm and was officially declared dead at 6:15 pm.

Per the Florida Department of Corrections, Gaskin had been served a last meal of his request that included "barbeque pork ribs, buffalo wings, pork and turkey neck, shrimp fried rice, French fries with honey barbeque sauce, and a water."

The so-called "Ninja Killer"

Newsweek reported that Gaskin had been dubbed the "Ninja Killer" due to the fact that he had dressed in all-black clothing and both "stalked and terrorized his victims" before killing them.

He was convicted in 1990 of first-degree murder for the deaths of the couple from New Jersey, Robert and Georgette Sturmfels, who spent the winter months at a second home in Florida's Flagler County.

Gaskin's attorneys had filed motions in March to delay the execution and argued that evidence of their client's mental illness had not been provided to the jury prior to sentencing, an assertion that was also repeated by anti-death penalty advocacy groups.

However, both the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up those motions and the execution of Gaskin proceeded as scheduled.

Final words uttered

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported that Gaskin was provided the opportunity to say some final words before he was executed, and though the outlet admitted that what he said was difficult to fully hear, it sounded like he said, "Justice is not about the crime. It's not about the criminal. It's about the law," and added, "Look at my case."

The outlet noted that in addition to the final meal that he received in the morning and the final words he uttered just prior to his execution, Gaskin had also been offered a chance to meet with a "spiritual advisor," which he declined, and a sedative, though it was unclear if he had accepted one or not.

He was visited by his sister, however, though she was not permitted to attend the execution, and none of Gaskin's victims or victims' relatives were in attendance either.

Stalked and murdered his victims

The News-Journal reported that Gaskin murdered Robert and Georgette Sturmfels on the night of Dec. 20, 1989, first by shooting them from outside their home through the windows with a .22-caliber rifle before breaking into the home and shooting them again multiple times while also stealing personal items.

Gaskin had also been convicted of attempted first-degree murder for an incident that same night in which he similarly shot through the windows of the home of Joseph and Noreen Rector after cutting their phone line, and though he did hit the husband, that couple managed to escape while he continued to fire shots at them and ultimately survived.

Interestingly enough, Gaskin also reportedly confessed to authorities that he had murdered another man in 1986, and had told a psychologist ahead of his trial that he was not insane, knew exactly what he was doing at the time was wrong, and since felt guilt -- which obviously conflicts with the last-minute claims of his attorneys and advocacy groups that he was mentally ill.

The outlet noted that Gaskin was the second death row inmate to be executed this year, following the February execution of Donald Dillbeck, and that a third convicted murderer, Darryl Barwick, is scheduled to be executed in May. Per Fox News, there are still another 297 inmates on Florida's death row.

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