NATIONAL NEWS

Florida to execute prisoner for 1986 fatal stabbing of woman

May 2, 2023, 9:02 PM

FILE - This undated photo released by the Florida Department of Corrections shows Darryl Barwick, w...

FILE - This undated photo released by the Florida Department of Corrections shows Darryl Barwick, who was convicted for breaking into a woman's Florida Panhandle apartment and fatally stabbing her 37 times in 1986. Barwick, 56, is set to be executed Wednesday, May 3, 2023, at Florida State Prison. (Florida Department of Corrections via AP, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Florida Department of Corrections via AP, File)

STARKE, Fla. (AP) — Florida is scheduled to execute a man Wednesday for breaking into a woman’s home and stabbing her to death in 1986, a crime that came months after he was released from prison for rape.

Darryl B. Barwick, 56, is set to be executed at 6 p.m. at Florida State Prison in Starke.

Barwick confessed to killing 24-year-old Rebecca Wendt in her Panama City apartment on March 31, 1986, after watching her sunbathing outside and following her back to her room. He said he intended to rob Wendt but then killed her as she resisted, stabbing her 37 times while she tried to fight him off.

Wendt’s bathing suit appeared as though someone had tried unsuccessfully to remove it, officials said. There was no evidence of sexual assault, but medical examiners reported finding semen on a blanket where her body was found.

Authorities linked Barwick to the crime through his confession, the semen stain, a witness who saw him heading toward and leaving Wendt’s apartment, and footprints left inside and outside the apartment.

He was convicted of first-degree murder, armed burglary, attempted sexual battery and armed robbery in November 1986, and sentenced to death two months later on the jury’s 9-3 recommendation.

Barwick killed Wendt less than three months after he was released from prison for raping a 21-year-old woman at knifepoint, according to court records. In his confession for Wendt’s killing, Barwick said he stabbed Wendt because he did not want to go back to prison.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Barwick’s death warrant last month. It is the third execution scheduled in Florida this year after a break dating back to 2019. The execution will mark the state’s 102nd since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.

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Florida to execute prisoner for 1986 fatal stabbing of woman