(RNS) — Churches across Florida, including Catholic, Unitarian Universalist and Latino evangelical congregations, have been holding prayer vigils, urging Gov. Ron DeSantis to stay the execution of Donald David Dillbeck, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday evening (Feb. 23).Dillbeck was convicted of fatally stabbing Faye Vann, 44, after he escaped from custody while serving a life sentence for killing Lee County Deputy Dwight Lynn Hall.
Dillbeck’s attorneys have argued that his neurobehavioral disorder — which they say is similar to an intellectual disability and related to alcohol exposure before birth — should exempt him from execution under constitutional law. The state Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court have denied appeals to exempt Dillbeck from execution.
His execution is set for 6 p.m. Thursday.
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The organization Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty has been gathering signatures and organizing groups to pressure DeSantis, who signed Dillbeck’s death warrant on Jan. 23, to stay the execution.
Maria DeLiberato, executive director for Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said it’s been powerful to see the faith community join the cause, particularly Latino evangelical congregations and Catholic churches, as they honor their traditions in protection of life.
“It’s evidence of their deep commitment that all life is sacred,” DeLiberato said.
Florida churches including Centro Cristiano El Pan de Vida in Kissimmee, Iglesia Cristiana para las Naciones in Orlando, Centro de la Familia in Tampa and El Calvario in Orland …