Twenty seven years ago on Aug. 18, 1987, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper stopped a Cadillac with a Michigan tag on I-75. When asked for his license, the driver said it was in a bank pouch in the trunk.
In the pouch the trooper found the license, but also cocaine. Thus began a fight for the pouch and the trooper's revolver, ending when the powerful man beat the trooper, took his revolver and shot the trooper in the face as he lay on his back in the ditch beside the road. The trooper's name was J.D. (Jeff) Young.
The killer was caught in the swamp where he walked carrying the trooper's gun. After the capture began the process of a trial in Fort Myers, where Daniel Burns was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.
Eventually, the Florida Supreme Court vacated the death sentence because the judge stated the murder was "heinous, atrocious and cruel." The court disagreed and ordered a new sentencing trial, which was set to be held in Bradenton in 1994.
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This trial, again, ended unanimously in sentencing Daniel Burns to death.
Burns' appeal after appeal has been refused. The last one, in 2013 to the U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit in Atlanta, was again refused.
The death sentence still stands and has not been carried out yet. After 27 years, where is justice for Trooper Jeff Young?
Jeff's mother died in 2003 without seeing an end to this. Dale Young, Jeff's father, approaching 90, may not see it either. It seems justice is a thing of the past.
H. Dale Young