• Florida executes convicted serial killer Gary Ray Bowles, who targeted gay men

    By: Ann Smajstrla

    Updated:
    RAIFORD, Fla. -

    A convicted serial killer who admitted to killing six men in three states was executed Thursday night in Florida.

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    Update 1:30 a.m. EDT Aug. 23: Gary Ray Bowles, 57, was executed by lethal injection at 10:58 p.m. Thursday at the Florida State Prison, the office of Gov. Ron DeSantis announced.

    Bowles did not say anything before his execution, but wrote he was sorry in a handwritten statement dated Thursday, according to The Associated Press.

    "I'm sorry for all the pain and suffering I have caused. I hope my death eases your pain," Bowles wrote. "I want to tell my mother that I am also sorry for my actions. Having to deal with your son being called a monster is terrible. I'm so very sorry. I never wanted this to be my life. You don't wake up one day and decide to become a serial killer."

    Original report: Gary Ray Bowles, 57, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Florida State Prison in Raiford, barring a last-minute stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Bowles began his eight-month killing spree on March 14, 1994, when he beat and strangled 59-year-old John Hardy Roberts in the victim's Daytona Beach home, the Ledger of Lakeland reported. On May 19, 1994, Bowles killed 37-year-old Albert Alice Morris in the same manner.

    With each of his Florida victims, Bowles befriended the men while working as a prostitute, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. He would then move in with the victims, who were gay men, and eventually kill them. Bowles also robbed the victims of their cars and credit cards.

    Tim Youngman, a retired homicide and crime scene investigator with the Daytona Police Department, told The Ledger that Bowles denied being gay himself, saying, "I'm a hustler."

    After the first two murders, Bowles killed two men in Georgia -- one in Savannah and one in Atlanta -- and another man in Wheaton, Maryland. He admitted to these killings but was never prosecuted for them, The News-Journal reported.

    Bowles' cross-country killings earned him the nickname the "I-95 Killer." The FBI began a manhunt for him in the summer of 1994 and added him to the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. While on the run, Bowles was profiled on "America's Most Wanted" at least five times, according to The News-Journal.

    Bowles was arrested shortly after killing 42-year-old Walter Hinton on Nov. 20, 1994, in his Jacksonville home. Hinton was also beaten and strangled.

    "The manner in which he murdered Mr. Hinton was really outrageous, really heinous," Jacksonville prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda told The News-Journal.

    Bowles was sentenced to die by a Jacksonville circuit judge in 1996. In August 1998, the Florida Supreme Court overturned Bowles' death sentence, saying prosecutors were wrong to introduce evidence of Bowles' homophobia, The Ledger reported. However, in May 1999, jurors recommended a death sentence for Bowles.

    Bowles' execution will be the 99th in Florida since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, WCJB-TV reported.

    Youngman said Bowles' execution is overdue.

    "He killed six people," he said. "You can prove it, without a doubt. So why not? It's time."

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