Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) kicked off her re-election campaign by admitting she made a mistake when she asked Gov. Rick Scott to delay an execution because it conflicted with a fundraiser.
Marshall Lee Gore, 50, was scheduled to die on Monday for the rape and murder of 30-year-old Robyn Novick and for the murder of 19-year-old Susan Roark.
But Scott advised Florida State Prison Warden John Palmer last month that he had moved the execution to Oct 1. When he was asked about the move on Monday, the governor said that he was complying with a "request of the attorney general."
"Her office contacted my office and asked for a postponement, and that's what we did," Scott explained, insisting that he "did not know" the reason for the request.
The Tampa Bay Times reported on Monday that Bondi's "hometown campaign kickoff" had also been scheduled for Oct. 1 so her office asked that the execution be postponed. Sunshine State News confirmed with a Bondi spokesperson that the campaign event had been scheduled for the same night as the fundraiser.
In a statement on Monday, Bondi said that she had made a mistake.
"As a prosecutor, there was nothing more important than seeing justice done, especially when it came to the unconscionable act of murder," she said. "I personally put two people on death row and, as Attorney General, have already participated in eight executions since I took office, a role I take very seriously."
"The planned execution of Marshall Lee Gore had already been stayed twice by the courts, and we absolutely should not have requested that the date of the execution be moved."
Attorney Ted Scher, who is representing Gore, told The Tampa Bay Times that the postponement came as a shock.
"It's very unusual," Scher observed. "It's particularly unusual given the attorney general's position in these cases that all we (defense lawyers) do is delay these executions."
But the governor and attorney general's decision to delay has left Phyllis Novick, the mother of one of Gore's victims, questioning the priorities of the elected officials in Florida.
"What's going on down there?" she asked. "It's ridiculous."