Officials: Cruse still unsuitable for execution
BY JOHN A. TORRES
Nothing has changed regarding the mental status of death row inmate William Cruse, meaning the 81-year-old killer remains incompetent and unsuitable for execution.
A status hearing was held this morning at the Viera Courthouse and it was determined that Cruse remains mentally unstable. Another hearing will likely take place in six months.
Cruse was sentenced to death in 1989, two years after the retired librarian went on a shooting rampage in Palm Bay that left six people dead and more than a dozen injured. Among those he killed were two Palm Bay police officers.
Six years ago, he was ruled incompetent by the courts. Every six months, according to Florida law, a status hearing is held to see whether anything has changed.
During his nearly 20 years on death row, Cruse has spent 23 hours a day in his cell, according to Gretl Plessinger, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections. He is allowed a shower every other day and has had no visitors in years.
In rambling letters sent to FLORIDA TODAY, Cruse complained of mistreatment by prison staff and that he was being denied medical treatment.
State Attorney Norman Wolfinger has said he doubts Cruse would ever be executed.
Contact Torres at 242-3649 or firstname.lastname@example.org