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February 8, 2011


women and the death penalty

by Andrea O'Connell

Casey Anthony is faced with the death penalty should she be convicted of killing her daughter, Caylee Anthony.  If sentenced with death, Casey will join just one other Florida female inmate death row – Tiffany Cole.

The one Florida woman on death row today, Tiffany Cole, was sentenced to death in 2008 for her role in the killing a couple from Jacksonville, Florida; they were buried alive.  Cole is currently on death row at Lowell Correctional Institution, which is situated in the Central Florida area, north of Orlando.

Florida Executions since 1973

Since 1973, Florida has executed two women, Judias Buenoano, and Aileen Wournos.

Buenoano was sentenced in 1985 for the 1971 crime in which she poisoned her husband with arsenic.  She was also convicted, and sentenced to life, in the 1980 drowning of her paralyzed son. Buenoano was the first woman to be executed using the electric chair in the state of Florida.  Her execution occurred in 1998.

Aileen Wournos was sentenced to die in 1992 for the murder of a Clearwater, Florida businessman.  Wournos is also thought to have been implicated in the death of a number of other men, and is often referred to as Florida’s only female serial killer. You may recall the movie, Monster, based on her criminal history – her prostitution and terrible escapades with men.

History of Women on Florida’s Death Row

Since 1926, a total of 14 women who were sentenced to death, had their sentences commuted or reversed.  The commuting of a few of the sentences were a result of the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1972, determining that capital punishment laws were unconstitutional.  Capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, hence the death sentences of Aileen Wournos and Judias Buenoano.

One could clearly conclude that Florida does not like to impose or carry out the death penalty on women.  The woman on death row since 1976, who were sentenced to die, and were either released, or had their sentences reversed, have terrible but interesting cases.  I have outlined a short history of the women who were originally sentenced to die, below.

Sonia Jacobs.  Convicted for her part in the shooting of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper and his friend.  Her death sentence was overturned in 1981, and she was sentenced to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory sentence.  In 1992 her case was reversed on appeal, and she plead to second degree murder. She was released in 1992 because she her sentence included time served.

Kaysie Dudly.  Sentenced to death in 1987 for the murder of her mother’s employer – a wealthy Florida widow.  She was re-sentenced (possibly after appeal), to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory.  She is currently serving her time at Lowell Correctional Institution.

Carla Caillier.  Was sentenced to death in 1987 to death for the murder of her husband in 1986, in Tampa.  She was re-sentenced in 1988 (possibly after appeal), to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory.

Dee D. Casteel.  Sentenced in Dade County in 1987 for murdering an 84 year old woman who had been inquiring about her missing son.  Casteel and another person had ordered the woman’s son to be murdered the month before.  Casteel paid two auto mechanics to carry out the murder. Her death sentence was vacated in 1990.  She was then re-sentenced to life, but she died in prison in 2002, at the Broward County Correctional Institution.

Deidre Hunt. Sentenced to death in 1990 for the 1989 shooting of two men that she was paid to kill. She was videotaped killing one of the men.  She plead guilty and was re-sentenced to life in 1998.  She is currently at Homestead Correctional Institution.

Andrea Hicks Jackson. Sentenced to death in 1984 for the murder of a police officer, in Jacksonville, Florida. She filed a false report regarding a vandalized car and shot the officer five times when he attempted to arrest her. Her death warrant was signed in March 1989 but then stayed in May of 1989 by the Florida Supreme Court.  She was re-sentenced to life in 2000, and is currently serving her time at the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Ana Marie Cardona. Sentenced to death for torturing and murdering her three-year-old son. The child was wearing a shirt with lollipops on the front when his beaten body was found by the police in Dade County.  The boy was then nicknamed “Baby Lollipops.”  The sentence was vacated in November of 2002 and she was released from prison.  Will Casey Anthony’s case turn out as this one did?

Virginia Larzelere.  Sentenced to death in 1993 for the killing of her husband, a practicing dentist.  She was re sentenced to life in 2008 and is currently serving her time at the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Women on Death Row in the United States

Since 1976, a total of 12 women have been executed in this country since 1976.

Some statistics:

  • Since the year 1608, there are 568 documented cases of executions of women.
  • In the past 100 years, over 40 women have been executed in the U.S.
  • As of January 1, 2010 there were 61women on death row.

Will Casey Anthony be number 62?

In reality, the numbers do inform us that the actual instance of execution of female offenders, compared to men, is rare.  According to The Death Penalty Information Center, since 1608, confirmed cases of female executions account for only 2.8% of the total executions carried out.

The Supreme Court, in 1972, had it right when they ruled that capital punishment was cruel and unusual, and wholly unconstitutional.

Will Casey Anthony sit on Florida’s death row?  Of course it will depend on twelve men and women who will hear her case, so it’s impossible to know.  However, if you read the stories of the women who had their death sentences reversed, chances are, if Casey Anthony is sentenced to death (and I hope she is not), and if she has a competent attorney for her appeal, she may not spend the rest of her life in jail.

Florida clearly does not like to kill women.


Florida women photos and info:

Research Article:

18 Comments Post a comment
  1. Feb 8 2011

    awesomely done!!

    • Feb 8 2011

      Thanks so much, Kim! I was really surprised to see that there’s only one female on death row today…. I honestly thought there were a few….

      • Feb 8 2011

        Two – very soon

        no – actually, I take that back. I don’t think she will get death

  2. Roman
    Feb 9 2011

    Lovely contribution, sweet blog layout, stick to the good work

    • Feb 9 2011

      thank you, Roman. I appreciate the kind words. 🙂

  3. Feb 9 2011

    Thank you Andrea. Wow, don’t you think Casey would want to be in all the court hearings regarding her future life in prison or even lack of a future?

    • Feb 9 2011

      Hi Carol… Yes, I can’t understand why she wouldn’t want to attend – at least it’s a trip outside and away from the jail! Maybe she’s acclimated so well in the jail now she doesn’t feel the need to get away.

      I do believe she has lost any sense of reality. I remember when Jesse Grund said that she had only one toe in reality, and he’s sure – with Caylee being gone, she has no sense of reality. She lives in a world of her own making. I tend to think she would not be able to digest the truth of her situation. And, she has total confidence in Baez – her Father figure – who will save her. That’s proof that she doesn’t live in the real world!!!

      • sean
        Jun 29 2011

        I have to say great site…Interesting comment you made that Casey lost all since of reality

        .I keep making comments to myself i.e get real
        Casey,wake up smell the coffee Casey,is she not real.

        But in a way I can see now that she lives in a “Walter Mitty world” I wonder if thats what the grievance expert meant “Magical World” Casey going by her interaction with Mr Baez one would think she is in intimate relationship with Mr Baez yet her life hangs in the balance

        People will shoot me down for saying this even though its a heinous crime but I kinda have empathy for her appears too me she has mental health issue

        Do you think Casey will one day have an epiphany?

        I really hope if convicted she doesn’t have the death penalty

        Well thanks for reading and keep up the good work I shall be viewing your site regularly now that I found it

  4. Hilde
    Feb 9 2011

    Andrea~~very well done Post!
    Will Casey Anthony be No. 62?
    I honestly don’t think so.
    I don’t believe Casey Anthony will get the DP if or when she is convicted.
    Do I believe she should get Life in Prison without Parole if/when she is convicted, absolutely! JMO

    • Feb 9 2011

      Hey Hilde! I hope she doesn’t get the death penalty, but I’m afraid that the jurors will be so convinced she did the crime, they will have to vote for it. But, I think it will be reversed partly because she’s a young and good looking girl.

      And, when the case is appealed (if she gets the DP), there “might” be a possibility of pleading to lesser charges, but she would have to admit guilt, and she will never do that. She totally believes her lies – I don’t think she will ever admit it.

  5. Feb 9 2011

    I think Casey has the attention span of a goldfish and is totally over all of this. I think she has a fantasy world she lives in and truly believes she is in a college dorm. What a shock she is in for after her conviction and she gets to meet Big Bertha!

  6. Hilde
    Feb 9 2011

    Kim, 😆
    that will be a wakeup call for Casey to meet Big Bertha lol

    • Feb 9 2011

      The sad part is – she will quickly learn to use it to her advantage. I wonder how we get the information to the other inmates about what her crime is …

      just sayin

  7. cali patti
    Feb 9 2011

    Hmm, the sentencing of time is all over the place, from state to state and it seems to me the mood of the judge. I have always thought “our” sentencing should be set w/variances, depending, and NOT as long. With the number of ppl severing life W/O the possibility of parole is ridiculous. W/O hope of getting out the prisons have become very violent. Many inmates would do better inside if they had a release date.

    • Feb 9 2011

      Hi Cali Patti! You make an excellent point about life W/O parole! I completely agree with you, though I don’t think it would be good for all inmates – some of them just cannot be let back into society.

      Human beings have to have hope. Without hope life is not worth living. Without hope, inmates would not care what happens to themselves or others. They would have no qualms about being violent in jail, about who they hurt, or what punishment is doled out to them because Life w/o parole gives them nothing to look forward to. At least if they had some hope for the future, that would give them the motivation to do their time as peacefully as possible and perhaps be rehabilitated.

      Thank you for those thoughts – I had not considered that before, but it makes perfect sense.

  8. cali patti
    Feb 10 2011

    Thank you Andrea, most of time I try to keep my comments very short and because of that they often do not “read” as was my intent in writing, if that makes sense.
    Actually there is a good chance Casey will get life with the possibility of simply because the cause of death is unknown. Possibility of parole does NOT equal to Casey getting out. I would be okay also because IF she got it would be so many years down the road that she would probably die in prison before that happens.
    Time in prison needs to fair, not based in revenge or feelings. Is it revenge, absolutely, punishment, yes, but mostly it is to remove a person from society.
    I believe we have removed hope from to many prisoners for not so clear reasons why.

  9. Pat
    May 24 2011

    Casey Needs to go directly to Lowell Correctional Institution and have a visit from the Only other woman on Death Row…then she can party all she wants with her own kind..and hopefully they’ll end up Killing eachother liket they did to the innocent people they already killed in their pitifull lives…..

  10. Pat
    May 31 2011

    May 24, 2011 at 6:28 pm
    Casey Needs to go directly to Lowell Correctional Institution and have a visit from the Only other woman on Death Row…then she can party all she wants with her own kind..and hopefully they’ll end up Killing eachother like they did to the innocent people they already killed in their pitifull lives…..


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