According to court documents Duane Owen would attack 14-year-old babysitter Karen Slattery in March 1984. The teenage girl would be sexually assaulted and murdered. Two months later Owen would sexually assault and murder Georgianna Worden on May 29, 1984.
Duane Owen would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death in 1986
Duane Owen News
Thursday, convicted murderer Duane Owen, 62, is scheduled to be executed in Florida, almost 40 years after the separate brutal murders of a mother and a 14-year-old babysitter in Palm Beach County.
Owen’s attorney has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt Thursday’s execution, arguing that Owen is not competent to be executed.
He “lacks a rational understanding of the connection between his crime and impending execution due to his fixed psychotic delusions and dementia,” Lisa M. Fusaro argued in the filing.
Attorneys for the state of Florida filed their own motions Tuesday arguing the Supreme Court should not halt the execution, saying it is “not in the public interest” to further delay punishment using the same mental health arguments that have failed in numerous attempts before.
Owen confessed to breaking into a Delray Beach home in 1984, where 14-year-old Karen Slattery was babysitting, waited until she put the children to bed and then confronting her nude except for boxer shorts, gloves and socks, holding a knife and a hammer.
He stabbed her 18 times, then dragged her unconscious body to a bedroom where he raped her.
Afterward, court records show he said he checked in on the sleeping children, then took a shower and left.
Two months later, investigators found Owen’s fingerprint on a book near the body of Georgianna Worden, 38, of Boca Raton.
Worden had been bludgeoned to death with a hammer and then raped and posed while her two daughters slept in the next room. They discovered her body the next morning.
Court records show Owen had also broken into the homes of two other women in a similar fashion and brutally attacked and assaulted them.
Owen was convicted and sentenced to death in both cases, but his conviction in Slattery’s murder was overturned by the Supreme Court on an argument that a statement he made during his confession should have halted the questioning.
That decision was later reversed, and Owen received a new trial in 1999, although he was already facing the death penalty in Worden’s case.
Owen used an insanity defense in that trial, claiming he wanted to be a woman and thought he could become one by killing a woman.
The jury once again convicted him, and Judge Harold Cohen sentenced him to death.
Attorneys appealed the conviction, but the Supreme Court affirmed it.
Unless there is a stay by the U.S. Supreme Court, Duane Owen is scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Florida State Prison in Starke.
WPBF 25 News Investigative Reporter Terri Parker, who covered the murders in 1984 and the retrial in 1999, will be a witness to the execution.