TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Gov. Rick Scott has rescheduled the execution of a mass killer for Aug. 5.
Scott announced the new execution date for John Errol Ferguson, 65, on Tuesday. That's the same day the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta lifted the stay that it had imposed last October.
The death row inmate was convicted of killing eight people in South Florida in two separate incidents.
In the first incident, Ferguson gained entry into a Carol City home on July 27, 1977, by posing as a utility employee. He then bound and blindfolded Margaret Wooden, the woman who let him in, and also let two accomplices into the home. Seven more people — Henry Clayton, Johnnie Hall, Randolph Holmes, Michael Miller, Charles Stinson, Livingston Stocker and Gilbert Williams — came to the house and were bound and blindfolded.
Ferguson placed a pillow over Wooden's head and shot her, but she survived. The other seven men were shot execution-style in the back of the head. Hall survived a shotgun blast to the head, but the rest of the men died. Both of Ferguson's accomplices were executed in the 1980s.
While under indictment for the Carol City murders, Ferguson murdered two Hialeah teenagers who were on their way to a church meeting in 1978. Posing as a police officer, Ferguson confronted Brian Glenfeldt and Belinda Worley, both 17 years old. Ferguson shot Glenfeldt in the back of the head, the chest and the arm. Ferguson then took Worley into the woods, raped her and shot her in the back of the head. Ferguson also took the teenagers' money and jewelry.
Scott initially signed Ferguson's death warrant last fall, scheduling him to die Oct. 16. But appeals at the state and federal level kept the execution from moving forward. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in May that although Ferguson suffers from mental illness, he has a rational understanding of what he did and why he is scheduled for execution. That was the same conclusion reached earlier by the Florida Supreme Court.