STARKE, Fla. (AP) — Florida is scheduled to execute a man Wednesday for breaking into a woman’s home and stabbing her to death in 1986, a crime that came months after he was released from prison for rape.
Darryl B. Barwick, 56, is set to be executed at 6 p.m. at Florida State Prison in Starke. The U.S. Supreme Court denied his final appeal for a stay of execution earlier in the day.
Barwick confessed to killing 24-year-old Rebecca Wendt in her Panama City apartment on March 31, 1986, after watching her sunbathing outside and following her back to her room. He said he intended to rob Wendt but then killed her as she resisted, stabbing her 37 times while she tried to fight him off.
Wendt’s bathing suit appeared as though someone had tried unsuccessfully to remove it, officials said. There was no evidence of sexual assault, but medical examiners reported finding semen on a blanket where her body was found.
Authorities linked Barwick to the crime through his confession, the semen stain, a witness who saw him heading toward and leaving Wendt’s apartment, and footprints left inside and outside the apartment.
He was convicted of first-degree murder, armed burglary, attempted sexual battery and armed robbery in November 1986, and sentenced to death two months later on the jury’s 9-3 recommendation. The Florida Supreme Court threw out that conviction in 1989 because of prosecutorial misconduct. Barwick was again convicted at his 1992 retrial and that jury unanimously recommended death.
Barwick killed Wendt less than three months after he was released from prison for raping a 21-year-old woman at knifepoint, according to court records. In his confession for Wendt’s killing, Barwick said he stabbed Wendt because he did not want to go back to prison.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Barwick’s death warrant last month. It is the third execution scheduled in Florida this year after a break dating back to 2019. The execution will mark the state’s 102nd since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.