Man Set To Be Executed For Prison Guard's Murder

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Associated Press Release
By: KELLI KENNEDY

MIAMI (AP) -- Florida is preparing to execute the leader of an escape attempt that left a prison guard dead.

William Van Poyck is scheduled to be executed Wednesday at Florida State Prison for the 1987 murder of guard Fred Griffis.

Van Poyck and Frank Valdes ambushed a prison van outside a West Palm Beach doctor's office in a failed attempt to free James O'Brien. Griffis was fatally shot after he threw the van's keys into the bushes to foil the escape. Van Poyck and Valdes were captured following a car chase. Valdes was stomped to death in prison in 1999. Seven guards were charged with his death, but none were convicted.

The 58-year-old Van Poyck has claimed Valdes fired the fatal shot. Prosecutors say that's irrelevant since Van Poyck planned the attack.


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