Danny Rolling, a serial killer also known as the Gainesville Ripper, was charged with the murders of five students in Gainesville, Florida, in 1990 and later pleaded guilty to those crimes. Rolling, the son of a Shreveport, Louisiana, police officer, struck terror in Gainesville, Florida, as he went on a gruesome killing spree in the college town over three days in August 1990, the Florida Times-Union wrote.
The bodies of five Gainesville college students were found mutilated and left in certain poses by Rolling: Sonja Larson, 18, of Deerfield Beach; Christina Powell, 17, of Jacksonville; Christa Hoyt, 18, of Archer; Manuel Taboada, 23, of Carol City; and Tracy Paules, 23, of Miami.
In 1994, Rolling pleaded guilty to five counts of murder, three counts of sexual battery and three counts of armed burglary in connection with those five slayings. Where is Danny Rolling, the Gainesville Ripper, today?
Rolling Was Executed by the State of Florida in October 2006 by Lethal Injection After Receiving a Death Sentence in 1994
In 1994, Rolling was sentenced to death following a trial by jury in which all 12 jurors unanimously voted for the death penalty, the Miami Herald wrote.
Prior to the lethal injection, Rolling sang his final words, “He who flung the stars into heavens above, created the oceans, mountains, eagles and doves. None greater than thee, Oh Lord, none greater than thee.” According to the Tamba Bay Times, family members of his eight victims witnessed his execution. He sang for about two minutes and when he paused, the prison staff turned off his microphone and delivered the lethal injection, the outlet wrote.
He was 52 years old at the time of his execution and was the 63rd person executed by the state of Florida since 1973 when the death penalty was brought back. The Times wrote that one of the victims’ family members said, “I didn’t appreciate his song. I didn’t understand how he could sit there and sing about angels watching over him.”
Rolling Issued a Written Confession to 3 Other Murders Shortly Before His Execution
Rolling was also long considered the primary suspect in a triple homicide in Shreveport, Louisiana, the year before the Gainesville murders. He was never prosecuted for the slayings of Julie Grissom, 24, her nephew Sean Grissom, 8, and her father, Tom Grissom, 55, who were found stabbed to death in their home in Shreveport, the Herald-Tribune reported.
Rolling’s blood matched the blood type of the killer in that triple homicide, and he had also revealed information that only the attacker would know. According to detectives, Rolling sent a description of the murders and admitted to his crime in a letter he wrote to a woman he married while in prison, but Louisiana authorities did not try him for the crimes because his execution in Florida was already expected, the Herald-Tribune wrote.
Shortly before his execution for the Gainesville murders, Rolling wrote and signed a confession to the Shreveport triple homicide that was made public. He wrote, “Here by I make a formal written statement concerning the murders of Julie, Tom & SEAN GRISSOM in my hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana … HAL CARTER, Julie Grissom’s former fiancee is 100% INNOCENT — TOTALLY PURE of that crime. I, and I alone am guilty.”