Gov. Jeb Bush issued temporary stays of execution Monday for one of the nation's first known female serial killers and a Hialeah man who raped and strangled an 11-year-old girl.
The executions of Rigoberto Sánchez Velasco, who was to die by lethal injection at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, and Aileen Wuornos, whose death sentence was set to be carried out next week, may still go on as scheduled if a panel of three psychiatrists who examine the Death Row inmates today finds the convicted killers competent.
Both inmates have stopped their appeals, but supporters say they are not mentally able to make that decision.
The panel has until 5 p.m. today to report its findings on Sánchez, and 48 hours to present its conclusion on Wuornos.
''If they're competent, the executions will go forward,'' Bush said Monday.
Some death penalty critics have questioned whether Bush should allow the sentences to be carried out while the Florida Supreme Court reviews the state's capital punishment law. But Bush said he signed the death warrants Sept. 6 because he didn't think the review applied to two convicts who have volunteered -- even pressed -- to be executed.
Sánchez, 43, was baby-sitting 11-year-old Katixa ''Kathy'' Ecenarro in her Hialeah apartment in December 1986 while her mother -- his girlfriend -- worked at a nearby cafeteria bar.
''There is nothing mentally wrong with [Sánchez],'' said Hialeah police Lt. Ralph Gracia, who was the lead homicide detective on the murder-rape case. ``He is a cold and calculating murderer and does not deserve to live.
``This man knew exactly what he was doing. He even called the mother at work to find out what time she was coming home, and I believe he did that because he wanted to find out how much time he had . . . to commit his crime.''
Sánchez, who fatally stabbed two other Death Row inmates in 1995 and was sentenced to 15 years for each slaying, ended his appeals and fired his attorneys in 1997.
However, Dianne Abshire, an Ohio member of a volunteer support group for Florida Death Row inmates, says Sánchez isn't competent. She has asked the state Supreme Court to let her challenge his execution on his behalf.
The Florida Supreme Court has upheld rulings by trial judges who found both Sánchez and Wuornos mentally competent to fire their state lawyers and drop their appeals.
Wuornos was convicted of fatally shooting six middle-age men along the highways of North and Central Florida in 1989 and 1990.
Bush said last week that he would have psychiatrists examine Wuornos after a private lawyer representing her in a lawsuit alleging abuse by prison guards wrote Florida's high court to share his doubts about her mental condition.
Wuornos' lawsuit accuses prison guards of trying to harass her ''to death'' and drive her to suicide. In her 25-page handwritten court filing, Wuornos accused prison staff of tainting her food by spitting on it or cooking it with dirt.
Her attorney, Raag Singhal of Fort Lauderdale, told the Supreme Court that Wuornos acts strangely, laughs and cries unexpectedly and obsesses on unimportant points. Wuornos has refused contact with Singhal since Bush signed her death warrant.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.