PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 51/15/98
EXTRA 20/98 Death Penalty 4 March 1998
USA (FLORIDA) Daniel REMATA
Daniel Remata, Judi Buenoano and Gerald Stano are scheduled to be executed on
23, 30 and 31 March 1998 respectively.
Daniel Remata was convicted and sentenced to death in February 1985 for the fatal
shooting of Mehrle “Chet” Reeder.
Judi Buenoano was convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 for the murder of
her husband, James Goodyear. She also received life sentences after a county
jury convicted her of the murder of her son that took place in 1980 and the
attempted killing of her fiancé that took place in 1984.
In a series of appeals in 1990 to state and federal courts, Buenoano’s lawyers
claimed that legal representation at her trial had been inadequate. They argued
that the defence attorney failed to introduce vital mitigating evidence relating
to Buenoano’s childhood, during which she was sexually abused and suffered much
instability as a result of being frequently moved between different relatives’
and welfare homes. Lawyers also claimed that the botched execution of Jesse
Tafero, carried out by the state on 4 May 1990, indicated that execution using
electrocution constituted “torture” and “cruel and unusual punishment” - flames
erupted from behind Tafero’s mask during his execution and he continued to breath
up until the third jolt of electricity was administered.
If her execution goes ahead, she will become the first woman to be executed in
the state of Florida since 1848 and the first woman ever to be executed by the
electric chair in Florida.
Gerald Stano was sentenced to death in March 1983 for the murders of Susan Bickrest
and Mary Muldoon. He also received life sentences for murders that occurred
in September 1981 and has confessed to killing over 40 women between 1975 and
The Florida Supreme Court stayed Stano’s execution pending hearings on the
constitutional validity of the electric chair following another botched
execution, involving Pedro Medina, on 25 March 1997; Flames also erupted from
behind his mask during the execution. The Florida Supreme Court ruled the chair
constitutional in a 4-3 vote in October 1997 and the execution was rescheduled
for 31 March 1998.
The state of Florida is about to resume executions after a hiatus of more than
one year caused by concern that the method of execution, electrocution, may be
deemed unconstitutional following the death of Pedro Medina.
The decision of Governor Chiles to postpone executions until the end of March
1998 has given members of Florida legislature time to take up the issue in their
regular March session. It is thought likely that legislation to ensure