STARKE -- Linroy Bottoson, an inmate who believed he was locked in a battle between Satan and Jesus Christ, was executed Monday for the kidnapping, robbery and slaying of the Eatonville
postmistress 23 years ago.
Bottoson died at 5:12 p.m. for the Oct. 26, 1979, murder of Catherine Alexander, who was robbed, held captive for 83 hours, stabbed 16 times and then fatally crushed by a car.
The execution came two hours after Circuit Judge Anthony H. Johnson of Orlando ruled Bottoson competent. The Florida Supreme Court rejected an appeal of Johnson's ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court also rejected an appeal Monday that argued Bottoson was mentally retarded.
In his ruling, Johnson agreed with state psychiatrists who found that Bottoson understood that he was about to die and the reasons for his execution, two requirements under Florida law.
Dr. Wade Myers, a state psychologist, testified Monday in Orlando that while Bottoson sometimes hears God and believes if he were to stand at Alexander's grave God would resurrect her, that does not mean Bottoson is mentally ill.
"There are evangelists every Sunday who have large viewerships who say they're also receiving the same messages from God," Myers said. "I think when you begin to label fundamental Christian beliefs as psychosis, it's not justified."
But a clinical psychologist hired by Bottoson's lawyers issued a report saying he is insane.
"Mr. Bottoson's chronic mental illness renders him unable to rationally and factually understand and appreciate the reason the State of Florida is seeking his execution and unable to factually comprehend that his death will in fact occur," psychologist Xavier Amador wrote after meeting with him last week.
"He understands himself to be locked in the middle of a battle between Jesus and Satan, a battle he is certain, as one of God's prophets, Jesus will win."
Court documents show that Bottoson's mother was obsessed with religion and forced Bottoson to constantly read the Bible, pray, and preach from street corners from the time he was seven to nine years
In the summer of 1962, Bottoson attempted suicide in his church. He was taken to a psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with an acute schizophrenic episode.
Bottoson kidnapped Alexander, robbing her post office of $144 and 37 money orders worth $400 each. The 74-year-old woman was held captive for three days -- some of that time in a car trunk -- before
Bottoson killed her.
Bottoson was arrested after his wife tried to cash one of the money orders. Alexander's shoes and the knife apparently used to stab her were found in Bottoson's house.
Bottoson is not the first person executed in Florida who was alleged to be incompetent.
In June 2000, Thomas Provenzano was executed although he believed he was Jesus Christ. Provenzano, 51, was executed for the murder of William "Arnie" Wilkerson, one of three bailiffs shot in 1984 when the unemployed electrician opened fire. The other two bailiffs were paralyzed; one has since died.
Florida has executed two others inmates this year, both of them in October. Since Florida reimposed the death penalty in 1976, 53 inmates have been executed. A total of 250 have died since the state took over executions from the counties in 1924, including a federal inmate who died in the electric chair for murder on the high seas.