(REUTERS) – Florida has executed a 65-year-old man who spent more than three decades on death row for the gruesome murder of a woman he met at a bar.
Robert Waterhouse was put to death by lethal injection on Wednesday at the Florida State Prison in Raiford, the fourth inmate executed in the United States this year.
He was pronounced dead at 8:22pm local time Wednesday, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jo Ellyn Rackleff.
Waterhouse’s last meal consisted of two pork chops, two eggs – sunnyside up – two slices of toast, a slice of cherry pie, a pint of butter pecan ice cream, a pint of orange juice and a pint of milk.
He spent three hours with his wife, Fran Waterhouse, in the morning, Mr Rackleff said.
Waterhouse was sentenced to die for the murder in January 1980 of Deborah Kammerer, a 29-year-old St Petersburg woman who encountered Waterhouse at a bar in the Tampa Bay area.
Miss Kammerer’s body was discovered the following morning in the low-tide mud flats of Tampa Bay. An autopsy found that she had been raped, beaten and drowned.
Police arrested Waterhouse, a plasterer and drywall installer, a week after Miss Kammerer’s body was found.
Investigators found blood samples, hair and other fibres that placed her in his car, records show.
At the time of the murder, Waterhouse was on parole for the 1966 rape and murder of a 77-year-old woman in New York.
He served eight years in prison before his release in that case.
Waterhouse was convicted and sentenced to death in September 1980.
His original death sentence was thrown out by the Florida Supreme Court in 1988 after his appellate attorney argued that the trial counsel erred by not presenting jurors with critical mitigating information, court records show.
A second jury reaffirmed the death sentence in 1990.
Waterhouse’s last-minute appeals were denied on Wednesday.
Waterhouse was the 72nd inmate put to death in Florida since the U.S. Supreme Court threw out federal and state death penalty statutes in 1972, forcing states to revamp their laws and methods. Florida resumed executions in 1979.
His was the fourth execution in the United States so far this year, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. There were 43 executions in the country in 2011.