Featured Stories | News

Gov. DeSantis halts execution of man accused of killing then sexually assaulting a teen and a woman in PBC

Florida Execution Owen
This booking photo provided by the Florida Department of Corrections shows Duane Owen. Owen, a man convicted of killing and sexually assaulting a teenage girl and another woman in separate South Florida attacks in 1984, is set to be executed in June 2023 under a death warrant signed Tuesday, May 9, 2023, by Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. (Florida Department of Corrections via AP)

TALLAHASSEE, FL– Governor Ron DeSantis has invoked section 922.07 of the law to halt the execution of a man accused of killing and sexually assaulting two different people in Palm Beach County.
The delay comes after a lawyer for the suspect claimed that his client may be “insane.”
62-year-old Duane Owen was originally set to be executed on June 15, at 6 p.m. for the murder and sexual assault of 14-year-old Karen Slattery, and 38-year-old Georgina Worden in 1984.
In March of 1984, Owen broke into a home in Delray where he repeatedly stabbed 14-year-old Karen Slattery before sexually assaulting her. According to the report, Slattery was babysitting two children at the time. The children, however, were left unharmed.
Just two months later, Owen struck again. This time Owen broke into the Boca Raton home of 38-year-old Georgina Worden while she was sleeping. Authorities say Owen bludgeoned her with a hammer multiple times before sexually assaulting her.
A neuropsychologist reported that when they conducted an evaluation on Owen where he told them that he committed the crimes because he was “feel[ing] that he is a woman in the body of a man,” and “was trying to fully become the woman he really was.”
While Governor DeSantis has issued the halt until Owen can be reevaluated, DeSantis also notes that none of Owen’s statements demonstrates that Owen lacks the mental capacity to understand the extent of his actions.
DeSantis is doing his due diligence by invoking section 922.07 which reads: “[w]hen the Governor is informed that a person under sentence of death may be insane, the Governor shall stay execution of the sentence and appoint a commission of three psychiatrists to examine the convicted person.”
An examination has been ordered for Tuesday. Those involved must report the findings to Desantis’ office, “by no later than May 24, 2023.”