Execution set for man convicted of 1993 rape and murder

Author: Associated Press
MGN Online

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) – After more than 20 years, three trials and a seemingly endless string of appeals, Tom McAdams plans to witness Thursday’s scheduled execution of the man convicted of killing his brother and raping his sister-in-law during a home invasion robbery.

His older brother, Gary, was shot in the back of the head in his Pensacola-area home in 1993.  The three invaders also raped Gary McAdams’ wife, Cecilia. Johnny Shane Kormondy, the convicted ringleader, is set die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Florida State Prison in Starke.

“We live with it every day. You hear all the time people saying that you will get closure, but every holiday, birthday or any celebration there is an empty chair,” McAdams told The Associated Press.

Gov. Rick Scott issued Kormondy’s death warrant in late November. He would be the 21st prisoner executed since Scott took office in 2011, tying him with former Gov. Jeb Bush for presiding over the most executions since capital punishment was reinstated in the state in 1979. Bush served two four-year terms, while Scott just began his second term.

Kormondy, 42, was initially convicted and sentenced to death in 1994. The state Supreme Court ordered a new sentencing hearing in 1997 because of an issue with testimony that was allowed during the initial trial’s sentencing phase. In 1999, another jury recommended Kormondy be sentence to death.

Two other men convicted in the home invasion and rape were sentenced to life in prison.

Cecilia McAdams said she plans to witness Kormondy’s execution. She declined comment on the pending execution, saying she will wait until Kormondy is dead to make a statement. McAdams has done extensive work helping other crime victims and teaching first responders how to approach victims of violent crime.

McAdams said the work is her way of giving back to the people who have helped her throughout the last 21 years. The AP doesn’t usually identify the victims of sexual assault but Cecelia McAdams has spoken publicly about her rape and her husband’s murder.

Many family members, including Gary McAdam’s parents and aunts and uncles, have died in the two decades since the crime, Thomas McAdams said.

“It has been a long, long time. The lengthy process has been difficult for us. It has been difficult every time we have had another trial or hearing,” said Thomas McAdams, who believes the stress of the ordeal contributed to his parents’ deaths.

“Our father pretty much grieved himself to death,” Thomas McAdams said.

The Florida Catholic Conference has called on Scott to stay Kormondy’s execution and plans prayer vigils around the state Thursday night.

Kormondy’s attorney, Howard “Rex” Dimmig II, did not return calls requesting comment. In appeals, Dimmig has argued that Florida’s clemency process is unconstitutional. He says Kormondy has been deprived of due process because the clemency procedure is done in secret and that Florida’s Board of Executive Clemency has not held a hearing for a death sentence in more than 30 years. Dimmig also claims death is an excessive punishment for Kormondy because his accomplices received life sentences.

Gary and Cecilia McAdams had just returned from a high school reunion in July 1993. Gary McAdams, a 39-year-old banker, was preparing to take out the couple’s new puppy before heading to bed when Kormondy and the two other men forced their way into the home. According to court records, the men had been watching the neighborhood and were looking for a home to rob.

“Cecilia and Gary just happened to come home at the wrong time,” said Thomas McAdams.

Friends and family members hold annual 5K runs in Pensacola to raise money for scholarships honoring Gary McAdams.

Thomas McAdams said what he remembers most about his older brother is his sensitivity and kindness. Thomas McAdams recalled the first time he missed the family Christmas while working offshore for an oil company.

“Gary was actually more upset about my not being there than my mother was. He was upset about the entire family not being together for the first time,” he said.

Gary McAdams would stand in line for elderly clients at the bank where he worked, encouraging the elderly clients to take a seat in his office, Thomas McAdams said.

Another time, Gary McAdams bought food to help a woman who was rejected for a bank loan.

“He was a great guy, a great big brother. He wasn’t your typical big brother; he always included me in what he did and took me with him when he went places,” he said.

McAdams said that by witnessing the execution he will be seeing things through to an end for his brother.

“I know if I had been the one who was killed that he would do the same thing for me,” he said.

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