Darryl B. Barwick, 56, is scheduled to be executed in Florida for the murder of 24-year-old Rebecca Wendt in her Panama City apartment in 1986. The US Supreme Court denied Barwick’s final appeal for a stay of execution on the same day he was set to be executed. Barwick broke into Wendt’s apartment with the intent of robbing her but ended up stabbing her 37 times. He was arrested after being linked to the crime through a semen stain, his confession, a witness, and footprints left at the scene. Mr Barwick was initially sentenced to death in 1986 but had his conviction overturned in 1989 due to prosecutorial misconduct. He was retried and again sentenced to death in 1992.
Barwick was released from prison for rape a few months before he broke into Wendt’s apartment. He killed her after watching her sunbathing and following her back to her apartment. Officials found Wendt’s bathing suit in a position that appeared as though someone had tried to remove it, although there was no evidence of sexual assault. Barwick stabbed her 37 times as she tried to fight him off.
Evidence Linking Barwick to the Crime
Investigators were able to link Barwick to the crime through various pieces of evidence. These included his confession, the semen stain found at the scene, footprints inside and outside the apartment, and a witness who saw him heading towards and leaving Wendt’s apartment.
Barwick’s Trials and Sentencing
Barwick was initially convicted of first-degree murder, armed robbery, attempted sexual battery, and armed burglary in November 1986. He was sentenced to death on the jury’s 9-3 recommendation two months later. However, the Florida Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1989 because of prosecutorial misconduct. He was retried in 1992 and again sentenced to death, this time by a unanimous jury recommendation.