“Florida Executes ‘Ninja Killer’ for 1989 Couple’s Death”

Louis Bernard Gaskin, known as the "ninja killer," was executed for killing a couple from New Jersey in their winter home. Gaskin received a lethal injection after having his last meal, which included BBQ pork ribs, Buffalo wings, and shrimp fried rice. Governor Ron DeSantis has overseen three executions in six weeks, while 297 people remain on Florida's death row.

Louis Bernard Gaskin, the man dubbed as the “ninja killer” for wearing all-black ninja clothing during the 1989 slayings of a couple visiting Florida from New Jersey, was executed on Wednesday. Gaskin, who was convicted of killing Robert Sturmfels, 56, and Georgette Sturmfels, 55, received a lethal injection after having his last meal at 9:45 a.m. His meal included BBQ pork ribs, pork and turkey neck, Buffalo wings, shrimp fried rice, french fries, and water, according to Department of Corrections spokesperson Kayla McLaughlin Smith.

Gaskin, 56, was visited by his sister on Wednesday but did not meet with a spiritual adviser. No relatives of the victims had arranged to be in the witness room during the execution. Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has overseen three executions in six weeks as he prepares his widely expected presidential campaign.

The “ninja killer” shot his victims with a .22-caliber rifle while stealing property from the couple’s home. The stolen items, including a clock, two lamps, and a videocassette recorder, were intended to be Christmas gifts for his girlfriend, according to investigators. Gaskin was also convicted of armed robbery, burglary, and attempted murder of another couple who lived nearby that same night.

Gaskin was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death by a jury vote of 8-4 in 1990, which the judge accepted. Florida law now requires a unanimous jury vote for capital punishment, but the Legislature could send DeSantis a bill this week that would change jury recommendations for capital punishment.

Gaskin’s execution marks the state’s 101st since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976. 297 people remain on Florida’s death row, which is located at Florida State Prison, approximately 40 miles southwest of Jacksonville.