Man who targeted gay men in months-long crime spree executed!

Gary Ray Bowles is slated to die by lethal injection at Florida State Prison in Stark for the 1994 slaying of Walter Hinton. (AP) A serial killer who confessed...

Serial killer who targeted gay men in months-long crime spree ate hardy last meal before execution in Florida
Gary Ray Bowles is slated to die by lethal injection at Florida State Prison in Stark for the 1994 slaying of Walter Hinton. (AP)

A serial killer who confessed to murdering a World War II veteran and five others in the early 90s ate three cheeseburgers, French fries and bacon before he was executed for targeting gay men in a deadly, months-long crime spree spanning Maryland, Georgia and Florida.

Gary Ray Bowles was executed by lethal injection at Florida State Prison on Thursday just before 11 p.m., according to the office of Gov. Ron DeSantis. The 57-year-old offered no spoken words in his final moments, but released a handwritten statement, saying he regretted his actions.

“I’m sorry for all the pain and suffering I have caused,” he wrote.

“I hope my death eases your pain. I want to tell my mother that I am so sorry for my actions. Having to deal with your son being called a monster is terrible. I’m so very sorry. I never wanted this to be my life. You don’t wake up one day and decide to become a serial killer.”

Bowles was handed the death penalty in the summer of 1996 for the murder of Walter Hinton, who is believed to be the sixth and final victim in a murderous spree that began in Daytona Beach two years earlier.

His first victim, John Hardy Roberts, was found face-down and dead in his living room by a friend on March 15, 1994. The 59-year-old also had a towel stuffed down his throat.

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Authorities were quick to identify Bowles as a suspect in Roberts’ killing after he was caught on an ATM camera attempting to withdraw cash from his victim’s account. The killer also left probation documents on the crime scene bearing his name.

Officers however, struggled to locate Bowles, leaving him to terrorize the Interstate 95-corridor until his arrest in November 1994. Most of his victims were found strangled with objects shoved down their throats, including towels, rags, toilet paper, dirt and a sex toy.

Bowles — who earned the nickname the “I-95 Killer” — pleaded guilty to killing Hinton by dropping a concrete block on his head following his arrest in Jacksonville Beach while he was going under an alias.

He was sentenced to death for the brutal murder but the Florida Supreme Court later reversed course and remanded the case for a new penalty phase. A second jury however unanimously voted in 1999 to sentence him to death, which has triggered a series of failed appeals that ended with Bowles’ death Thursday night.

He was also convicted in 1996 for the murder of 37-year-old Albert Morris, who he met at a gay bar in Jacksonville. Police said the killer beat him with a marble dish and then shot him in the chest while his mouth was stuffed with a rag.

A year later he was convicted on first-degree murder charges for killing and robbing Roberts.

He also confessed to murdering David Jarman, who was found dead inside his Maryland home on April 14, 1994 with a sex toy shoved down his throat.

Bowles’ other victims include 72-year-old Milton Bradley, a World War II Veteran who underwent a lobotomy for a shrapnel wound, and 47-year-old Alverson Carter Jr.

Bowles, who experienced violence and drugs at a young age, was raised in West Virginia. His father, a coal miner, died of the black lung before he was born and mother remarried several times, on occasion to men that beat him. He left home at the age of 13 after he bashed his second stepfather’s head in with a rock and nearly killed him.

Authorities said he survived by letting gay men perform sex acts on him for money, though Bowles has long maintained that he is straight.

“I had a question about him being gay. He told me he was not” said Thomas Youngman, a Daytona Beach detective assigned to the Roberts murder.

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“I said, ‘What do you describe yourself as?’ and he said, ‘A hustler.’ He’d befriend these old guys and have sexual relations with them, but I think they performed on him. He said he did not perform on them.”

He additionally had a history of violence against women. Bowles was also convicted of beating and raping his girlfriend while living in Tampa in 1982 and sentenced to eight years in prison.

He is the 99th person to be put to death in Florida since Capital Punishment resumed in the state in 1976.


Photo Credit: Metro

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