Catholic Bishops Urge Gov. DeSantis to Spare the Life of Louis Gaskin
April 5, 2023 • Diocese of St. Augustine

The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCCB) has requested that Gov. Ron DeSantis stay the execution of Louis Gaskin and commute his sentence to life without parole. Gaskin is scheduled to be executed on April 12, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. for the 1989 murders of married couple Georgette and Robert Sturmfels, in Palm Coast, Fla.

In a March 31 letter to DeSantis on behalf of the bishops of Florida, Michael Sheedy, FCCB executive director, recognized the irreversible harm caused by Gaskin’s actions and the immense suffering of the victims’ families, loved ones and communities.

“However, taking the life of Mr. Gaskin will not restore the victims’ lives,” said Sheedy. “Rather, premeditated, state-sanctioned killing disrespects the sacredness of all human life and perpetuates the cycle of violence and vengeance. Intentionally ending Mr. Gaskin’s life is unnecessary. The alternative to the death penalty of life-long incarceration without parole is a very severe punishment which keeps society safe.”

Sheedy concluded by stating that a stay of execution by DeSantis would have the support of the many Floridians who back alternatives to the death penalty. Prior to Gaskin’s scheduled execution, Floridians will gather across the state to pray for the victims of violent crimes, the condemned on death row and for an end to the use of the death penalty.

Click here to view the full text of the letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops is an agency of the Catholic Bishops of Florida. It speaks for the church in matters of public policy and serves as a liaison to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. The archbishop and bishops of the seven (arch)dioceses in Florida constitute its board of directors.