|David Alan Gore|
David Alan Gore was 29 on July 26, 1983 when he and his cousin Fred Waterfield picked up Lynn Elliott and Regan Martin who were hitchhiking their way to Wabasso Beach, Florida. Instead of taking them to the beach, though, they put handcuffs on them and drove them to Gore's parent's house where they raped them. Gore shot Elliott, then 17, to death while she was trying to escape. 14-year-old Martin survived.
Elliott wasn't the first woman he killed. Here's Melissa Holsman in the Treasure Coast Palm.
On the eve of his death penalty trial for the 1983 abduction, rape and murder of a Vero Beach High School senior, David Alan Gore told authorities what they had long suspected: Lynn Elliott, 17, wasn’t his first killing.
She was his sixth, Gore, then 29, confessed to prosecutors in November 1983.
Gore, 58, admitted killing six women in Indian River County between 1981 and 1983. Most were sexually assaulted, some were tortured and others were dismembered and buried in hidden graves in citrus groves west of Vero Beach.
Waterfield is doing life. Gore is doing life, too, but not for Elliott's killing. For that, he's to be executed at 6 tomorrow evening by the people of the Sunshine State. (Yeah, his lawyers are still filing stuff, but you probably shouldn't hold your breath waiting for some court to issue a stay.)
And execution in Florida isn't exactly big news around the country. After all, they've killed 72 men and women there beginning with John Spenkelink in 1979. Hell, Gore won't even be the first this year. That was Robert Waterhouse, murdered on February 15.
So there's nothing special about Gore. A brutal serial rapist and murderer. Just another guy on the row. His death will be, the 73rd execution in Florida, and number 1,290 since Gary Gilmore restarted executions in 1977.
But this post isn't about Gore. Nor is it about Elliott. He probably can't be saved. She, surely, cannot be resurrected. Nor can Gore's other victims. "Shit," as testimony indicated that one of my former clients said while watching a news story on TV about a murder he'd recently committed, "happens." And really and sadly, it can't be undone.
But then there's this special series on Gore and his crimes and the upcoming killing in Treasure Coast Palm. And in particular, there are the stories of the others, those who are still around. Family and victims.
Consider Lynn's parents. Russ Lemmon talked to them.
Jeanne Elliott says her stress level has gone up considerably since Feb. 28, the day Gov. Rick Scott signed Gore's death warrant.
That's not the case with her ex-husband, Carl Elliott.
"The closer it gets, the better I feel," he said.
. . .
They both plan on being in the front row for Thursday's execution.
Their son, Jason, may or may not be a witness, but he's thrilled for his parents.
"I'm looking forward to it for my parents," he said. "It's great that it's happening, but more so for them."
Then there's Martin, the one who survived.
Lee Martin also plans to witness the execution. She is the mother of Regan Martin, who was abducted with Lynn Elliott but survived the ordeal.
Regan Martin, now 43, is married with two kids and living in Georgia.
"I know that I am not going to witness the execution. I really don't want to see his face again," Regan Martin said. "My husband will be going in my place and of course my mother will be there.
And so it goes. Lemmon spoke with the families the 6 women Gore killed and quoted them all on their plans and enthusiasm for the upcoming festivities.
He didn't speak to Gore's family, though. Or at least he didn't report what they might have had to say. My guess is that they aren't quite as enthusiastic as they are set to join all those others in losing a child/brother/father/uncle/spouse. But then, we don't count them as victims.
We do, though, count Angela Hommell. It was back in 1976 that Gore and Waterfield took turns raping her at gunpoint after she tried to get them to help with a pair of flat tires. Melissa Holsman tells the rest.
What she believed was a friendly ride to work nearly turned deadly, she said, after the men took turns raping her while pointing a gun at her head, court documents state.
In 1984 sworn depositions, Gore admitted he and Waterfield devised a ploy to pretend to threaten her with a gun, as part of a plot to rape her.
"After I pulled out the gun, he was keeping the game going, that's when I told him 'Fred let's don't play anymore. Let's go ahead and do what we're going to do,' " Gore recalled during an October 1984 deposition.
He said he had a "snub nose" .22 caliber handgun.
They agreed to let Hommell go, he said, after she promised not to tell anyone what they had done to her. But at a hospital that night, she reported the incident and Gore and Waterfield were briefly jailed before being released. Both men claimed their sex with Hommell was consensual and they were never charged with a crime.
It's that last line. Never charged with a crime. Hommell figures that if they'd been prosecuted for her kidnapping and rape, they'd have been in prison and therefore the crime spree that included the death of Lynn Elliott, well, it just wouldn't have happened. Maybe, maybe not. But if she couldn't stop the other killings, maybe she can stop this one.
"I am writing to you to ask for clemency and/or a (stay) of execution for Dave Gore," Hommell wrote state officials in March. "I believe if they (Gore and Waterfield) would have been prosecuted for the rape against me they would have gone to jail and not be able to go on the killing spree that they did. I am not going to feel closure and/or justice for me if Dave is killed. Not in my name. . . . I am asking as a victim of Dave (and Fred) to stay the execution and give him life without the possibility of parole," she wrote. "If you do not stay the execution, April 12 will be a horrible day for me and I will relive all the pain all over again."
She told Holsman.
"I don't believe in the death penalty. I'm Roman Catholic and in Germany we think the death penalty is barbaric. . . . If he does get killed on (April) 12, that's going to be a bad day for me, or any day therefore, you know."
Rev. Bill Carmody, pastor at St. Dominic's Catholic Church in Colorado Springs, has counseled Hommell for a decade or so. He knows she's serious.
"The reason she's doing it is to give David Gore one last shot at life," Carmody said. "In spite what he did to her, she's still going to fight for his life, which I find amazing."
Nobody's quite saying it, at least the Treasure Coast Palm doesn't say it, but killing Gore won't bring anyone back. The dead stay dead. There'll just be one more dead person.
Who will likely be mourned.
And whose death will revictimize Angela Hommell. Who's really suffered enough.
As I keep saying, it's not about him. It's about us.
I should note that in 15 minutes the Connecticut House of Representatives will begin debating abolition. And then there'll be a vote. And it will just be up to the Governor, who says he'll sign.
That won't change anything for Gore, of course, or for the Elliotts or Regan Martin. Or for Angela Hommell.