A serial killer who confessed to murdering a World War II veteran and five others in the early 90s ate three cheeseburgers, French fries and bacon before he was executed for targeting gay men in a deadly, months-long crime spree spanning Maryland, Georgia and Florida.
Gary Ray Bowles was executed by lethal injection at Florida State Prison on Thursday just before 11 p.m., according to the office of Gov. Ron DeSantis. The 57-year-old offered no spoken words in his final moments, but released a handwritten statement, saying he regretted his actions.
“I’m sorry for all the pain and suffering I have caused,” he wrote.
“I hope my death eases your pain. I want to tell my mother that I am so sorry for my actions. Having to deal with your son being called a monster is terrible. I’m so very sorry. I never wanted this to be my life. You don’t wake up one day and decide to become a serial killer.”
Bowles was handed the death penalty in the summer of 1996 for the murder of Walter Hinton, who is believed to be the sixth and final victim in a murderous spree that began in Daytona Beach two years earlier.
His first victim, John Hardy Roberts, was found face-down and dead in his living room by a friend on March 15, 1994. The 59-year-old also had a towel stuffed down his throat.
Authorities were quick to identify Bowles as a suspect in Roberts’ killing after he was caught on an ATM camera attempting to withdraw cash from his victim’s account. The killer also left probation documents on the crime scene bearing his name.
Officers however, struggled to locate Bowles, leaving him to terrorize the Interstate 95-corridor until his arrest in November 1994. Most of his victims were found strangled with objects shoved down their throats, including towels, rags, toilet paper, dirt and a sex toy.