Convicted murderer gets what he wants: a Death Row cell
Published: Saturday, July 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 30, 2006 at 11:54 p.m.
LAKE BUTLER - Twice-convicted murderer Ricardo Gill got what he asked for Friday: a death sentence.
Gill, 36, was first convicted of murder in the 1999 fatal beating and stabbing of Gainesville travel agent Beverly Moore.
In 2001, Gill pleaded guilty in the case, telling Circuit Court Judge Stan Morris he would prefer to be put to death for a crime he had not committed than spend his life in prison. Gill also told Morris that if he did not receive a death sentence for Moore's murder, another judge would have to impose it.
Morris cited Gill's extensive mental health history in sentencing him to life in prison. The judge also notified prison officials of the apparent threat Gill had issued.
Four days later, Gill's cellmate at the Reception and Medical Center in Lake Butler was found strangled to death with a strip of bedsheet around his neck. Orlando Rosello had been serving a 20-month state prison term for car theft when he was sent to the center for medical care and placed in a cell with Gill.
A year ago, Gill pleaded guilty to murdering Rosello and told Circuit Court Judge Robert Cates to sentence him to death or expect another person to die.
"You will give me a license to kill if you give me another life sentence," Gill told Cates on July 8, 2005. "I am a hundred percent sure this time it will not be an inmate that is killed."
When Gill appeared in front of Cates on Friday, he was shackled, handcuffed and wore a shock belt around his waist that could be activated by one of the five correctional officers who escorted him into the second floor courtroom.
Repeatedly, Cates offered to delay sentencing, to find another attorney for Gill or to consider any oral arguments Gill wanted to make to avoid a death penalty. Over and over, mostly with yes and no answers, Gill made it clear that he wanted to proceed, that he wanted to continue representing himself and that he wanted to be sentenced to death.
Gill's court-appointed, standby attorneys, John Stokes and Bill Salmon, made no arguments on Gill's behalf at his direction.
During the 55-minute-long sentencing hearing Gill did ask that a few technical and typographical changes be made in court documents.
Cates read aloud each line of his 15-page order sentencing Gill to death, stopping periodically to ask if Gill had an questions or comments.
In conclusion, Cates wrote that Gill could be sentenced to death, "despite the fact yet Ricardo Ignacio Gill is a deeply troubled individual with a long history of mental health problems, mental disturbances, suicidal impulses and a life primarily spent in penal institutions."
By early Friday afternoon, prison officials said Gill was in a cell on Death Row at Florida State Prison.
How and when Gill could be executed is unclear as questions about the use of lethal injections work their way through the courts.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in a Florida Death Row case that inmates can file last-minute appeals on the method of execution. The high court then sent the case back to lower courts.
Even before the Supreme Court had issued its ruling, Gov. Jeb Bush postponed all executions pending a decision. The postponement is expected to remain in effect until the issue is resolved.
Sun staff writer Lise Fisher contributed to this report. Karen Voyles can be reached at 486-5058 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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