Twenty-five years after he fatally stabbed and beat a Lauderhill woman, then buried her body in a trash pile, Miami killer Marshall Lee Gore is set to be executed Tuesday.
Gore’s date with death at Florida State Prison in Starke is his fourth scheduled execution.
Twice before, courts halted the executions as his lawyers sought to stave off his death because of questions about Gore’s sanity. Then, in a move roundly criticized, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi rescheduled a September execution date so she could attend a political fundraiser; she later apologized.
The 50-year-old Gore was convicted and sent to Death Row for the 1988 murder of Lauderhill’s Robyn Novick, whose body was found stabbed and beaten in a trash pile near Homestead.
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Gore — notorious for his outrageous courtroom outbursts during his trials — also is on Death Row for the 1988 murder of Tennessee college student Susan Marie Roark, whose body was found in a rural area of Columbia County.
Authorities arrested Gore after he kidnapped a stripper Tootsie’s Cabaret in North Miami-Dade. After raping the woman, he slit her throat, bashed her head in with a rock and left her to die in an isolated stretch near Homestead.
The woman lived, alerting police officers that Gore had made off with her car, with her 2-year-old son in the back seat. The child was later discovered in an abandoned Georgia home.
Officers who had been looking for the toddler stumbled across Novick’s remains in a trash heap near Homestead. Witnesses had last seen Gore leaving a tavern with Novick.
Novick, 30, originally from Cincinnati, was a General Motors credit services representative who met Gore during a brief stint moonlighting as a dancer at Solid Gold in North Miami-Dade.
Gore’s lawyers said the convicted killer was mentally ill. His execution, they said, would violate a constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Gov. Rick Scott originally scheduled Gore’s execution for June 24. But one hour before the execution, a federal appeals court stayed the execution, allowing Gore a chance to explore his mental health claims.
Three days later, the court lifted the stay, saying Gore had not met the criteria for delaying the execution.
But a July 10 execution date was stayed after a Bradford judge allowed Gore, at a court hearing, to present a doctor who claimed the man is insane. The judge and the Florida Supreme Court, however, later agreed with prosecutors that Gore is competent to executed.
Gore’s legal battle to avoid execution followed a similar path as another Miami murderer, John Errol Ferguson, whose lawyers insisted he was a long-diagnosed schizophrenic who believed he was the “Prince of God.”
After a 10-month legal battle, Ferguson was executed in August. Unlike Ferguson, Gore does not have a history of diagnoses of mental illness.
But the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed with a Bradford judge, who ruled that Gore was faking his mental illness, which included wild claims that the state was harvesting his organs and his eyes were to be given to the son of an unnamed senator.
Judge Ysleta McDonald said there “is no credible evidence that Gore’s mental state is such that he believes he is being executed for any reason other than the murder of Ms. Novick.”
“I’m gratified the Supreme Court saw through his shenanigans,” said retired Miami-Dade Detective Dave Simmons, who helped investigate Gore’s strings of crimes in the 1980s. “He’s crafty as a fox and will do anything to circumvent being held responsible for his actions.”y