High court rejects appeal from Miami Death Row inmate slated for execution


John Errol Ferguson, convicted of murdering eight people, lost a round Monday before the Florida Supreme Court, but several other appeals are still pending.

The Florida Supreme Court on Monday denied an appeal aimed at stopping the execution of convicted Miami mass murderer John Errol Ferguson.

Justices upheld the decision of a Miami-Dade judge who rejected Ferguson’s legal claims as having been filed too late. Ferguson’s attorneys are appealing chiefly on the grounds that he is mentally ill and his execution would be “cruel and unusual punishment.”

For now, according to Gov. Rick Scott’s office, Ferguson is scheduled for execution Oct. 16. However, many separate appeals are still in the works, including another request for a stay filed Monday afternoon.

The Miami man was convicted in 1978 of the murders of six Carol City residents during a home-invasion robbery. At the time, it was the worst mass murder in Miami-Dade history.

Ferguson, now 64, also was convicted separately of murdering two teenagers, Belinda Worley, a 17-year-old Hialeah High School senior, and Brian Glenfeldt, 17, in January 1978.

The two teens had gone out for ice cream, and Ferguson pretended to be a police officer when he stopped them. He shot Glenfeldt to death and raped and murdered Worley, and stole her class ring.

His lawyers had asked for a hearing to determine his competency. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Nushin Sayfie, while saying Ferguson “undoubtedly suffers from mental illness,” denied the request as “untimely.”

The battle over Ferguson’s mental health is not over yet.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Ferguson’s lawyers will present evidence of his mental health to a judge in Bradford County, where the execution is set to take place.

According to his lawyers, Ferguson’s mind is so ravaged that he regularly “communicates” with his dead father and is tormented by “delusions and hallucinations.” Ferguson suffered a tumultuous home life and was shot in the head as a young man, according to his Washington, D.C.-based defense lawyer Christopher Handman.

Ferguson’s attorneys have also filed a civil lawsuit in federal court challenging Florida’s use of lethal injection.

Read more Top Stories stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category