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

Florida executes serial killer Gary Ray Bowles, who targeted gay men
Gary Ray Bowles (FDOC)

STARKE — A serial killer who preyed on older gay men during a rampage 25 years ago around the U.S. East Coast has been put to death.

The office of Gov. Ron DeSantis says 57-year-old Gary Ray Bowles was pronounced dead at 10:58 p.m. Thursday after receiving a lethal injection at Florida State Prison in Starke.

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The execution was scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday but was delayed while the Supreme Court considered his case. The justices denied the last ditch appeal.

Bowles was condemned for the murder of Walter Hinton in Jacksonville Beach — one of the killings that terrorized the East Coast's Interstate 95 corridor in an eight-month span in 1994.

Hinton was Bowles’ sixth and final known victim in a spree that began in Daytona Beach with the slaying of John Hardy Roberts. In between, there were victims in Rockville, Maryland; Savannah, Georgia; Atlanta and Nassau County.

In each case, Bowles stuffed the victims’ throats with objects such as rags toilet paper, dirt and leaves. Investigators say if he hadn’t been caught, Bowles would have kept on killing.

Officials at Florida State Prison in Starke say Bowles did eat a meal of three cheeseburgers, French fries and bacon as execution preparations were being made.

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