William Van Poyck, an inmate who attempted to break out in 1987 and shot a prison guard, spent his last day with family, friends and a spiritual adviser before he was injected with poison and died 7:24 p.m. Wednesday at the Florida State Prison in Starke. The U.S. Supreme Court and Gov. Rick Scott rebuffed last-minute appeals for a stay and for clemency.
Trying to help his friend, Van Poyck, 58, orchestrated a plan to free inmate James O’Brien from Glades Correctional Institution on June 24, 1987. O’Brien had an appointment at a downtown West Palm Beach dermatologist and informed Poyck the night before. However, there was a mishap while Poyck and his accomplice Frank Valdes ambushed the prisoner transport; the driver, Fred Griffis, tossed the keys into a bush. Although Poyck still insists it was Valdes who fired the three shots into Griffis’ torso and head that killed him, he has not been able to prove it in court because Valdes was beaten to death in prison.
Van Poyck was convicted of felony murder, a charge that does not require actually having pulled the trigger. Poyck has tried to appeal his case, but the courts have denied appeals to overturn the jury’s death sentence.
For more information go to this Sun Sentinel link: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/fl-van-poyck-dead-20130612,0,2077283.story
Ken Hassett is a Criminal Defense Attorney. If you have committed a crime or have been arrested contact us at 954-791-3939.