Van Poyck Executed For Palm Beach Officer’s Death

William Van Poyck, whose botched jail break in 1987 left a prison guard dead, spent his last day with family, friends and a spiritual adviser.

An executioner injected poison and stopped his heart at 7:24 p.m. Wednesday at the Florida State Prison in Starke, satisfying his final words, “set me free,” and nullifying 26 years of legal maneuvering to save his life. The U.S. Supreme Court and Gov. Rick Scott rebuffed last-minute appeals for a stay and for clemency.

“Bill, in the last visit that we had with him, is so at peace and so calm,” said his sister, Lisa Van Poyck. “In the pictures that we took, he is beaming.”

She came to Starke, about 35 miles north of Gainsville, from her home in Virginia for the execution. Family members are not permitted to witness executions, but reporters were there. Lisa Van Poyck said the victim’s family chose not to attend.