ACTION ALERT: William Van Poyck: Sentenced under false pretenses, yet scheduled to be executed in MINUTES

Sentenced under false pretenses, William Van Poyck has spent the last 26 years held in solitary on Florida’s death row for a murder he did not commitPoyck is scheduled to be executed in minutes. 


William Van Poyck


1) Contact Florida Governor Rick Scott and tell him what you think. (850) 488-7146 (Email:

2) Sign the petition calling on Governor Scott to grant executive clemency for Poyck.

Of her brother’s 1987 conviction and death sentence, Poyck’s sister, who maintains his blog, “Death Row Diary,” writes:

My brother, William Van Poyck, is on death row for a murder he did not commit. William has no internet access so he writes me letters from his death row cell which I post here for you to read. If you want a reply from Bill, please Email me at Thanks to the many followers of Bill’s blog and people who have written to Bill over the years :}

The following piece was published on Solitary Watch today.

June 12, 2013 | Voices from Solitary“Death Row Diary” of Florida Man Scheduled to Die Tonight | Solitary Watch

fl chamberWilliam Van Poyck, 58 years old and on death row at the Florida State Prison in Starke, is scheduled to die at the hands of the state tonight at 6 pm. In 1987 he was convicted of murdering prison guard Fred Griffis in a failed jailbreak attempt. Poyck has spent nearly 26 years on death row in solitary confinement. He has written to his sister about his life in prison, and in recent years she has published his letters to a blog called Death Row Diary.  In these letters, Poyck writes about everything from the novels and history books he is reading and shows he has watched on PBS to the state of the world and his own philosophy of life–punctuated by news of the deaths of those around him, from illness, suicide, and execution. He also comments on the bill recently passed by the Florida legislature that will accelerate the schedule of executions in Florida. The excerpts selected here focus on the inhumane treatment he and other individuals on death row endure as they move ever closer to their own finalities. His last entry was written on May 28, when he had “15 days left to live.”  –Abby Taskier

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

January 4, 2012

Well, another year is upon us. I feel like I ought to have something profound to say but all I can think of is the too many – over 40 – years I’ve spent sitting in a cell or prison dormitory watching another new year slide into my life. New Year’s is supposed to represent hope and potential but it’s hard to convince yourself that hope and potential abounds when you’re doing hard time! Anyway, 2012 is the supposed end of the world according to the Mayan calendar…I don’t put too much stock in apocalyptic predictions; humans have been making them since the dawn of time, after all, without any success, and I’m an optimist by nature. But I confess that as I survey the world around me and what we humans are doing to planet earth it is increasingly difficult to envision a good ending…

The search team came and tore up my cell last week; it was a surgical strike (they came for me alone) and I was later told that “someone” wrote a snitch kite on me claiming (falsely) I had a weapon in my cell. I’m fairly certain it was someone trying to get a DR (disciplinary report) dismissed by dropping a dime on me on the hope they’d shake me down and find something, any kind of contraband, and the rat would then get credit for it. But I had no contraband so the snitch struck out. If the administration had any integrity they’d write the rat a DR for “lying to staff.” I spent several hours putting my cell back in order; it looked like a hurricane came through, all my property scattered everywhere. This is the kind of bullshit you have to put up with in prison; it’s the nature of the beast…

I just learned that Governor Scott has signed another death warrant and someone is on death watch on the bottom floor of Q-wing. Scott didn’t waste any time after the holidays; he seems determined to execute a record number of people at the pace he is setting…This is a depressing turn of events, a lousy way to begin the new year, at least from my perspective. The execution, when it occurs, will undoubtedly please some people, so it’s all a matter of perspective…

February 9, 2012

Yesterday the prison was locked down all day for the standard “mock execution”, the practice run which occurs a week prior to the actual premeditated killing. For the mock execution they lock down the joint, bring in an array of big wigs, and go through a dry run to make sure the death machine is in working order, everyone on their toes. The big wigs are just voyeurs, here to vicariously kill someone while allowing themselves the bare moral cover of not actually pushing the knife between the ribs. Their minions do the actual dirty deed while they can go home with technically clean hands. These mock executions are as depressing as the real thing, in the sense that it’s dispiriting to watch an entire organization (a prison, with all its constituent parts) so seriously dedicate their time and energies to practice killing a fellow human being, as if this is a good and natural thing to do. It takes some peculiar mental (not to mention moral) gymnastics to justify this to oneself, but we humans have proven ourselves immensely adept at self-delusion and hypocrisy, especially when we bring religion into the equation. We are really, really good at killing others in the name of God. We are a strange species, aren’t we?

Read the entire piece on the website of Solitary Watch. 

2 thoughts on “ACTION ALERT: William Van Poyck: Sentenced under false pretenses, yet scheduled to be executed in MINUTES

  1. I’ve been reading Death Row Diary, and it does something to you to be reading the words of a man who is still alive, and then, a few minutes later, they’re the words of a man who is dead.

    As if I really needed it, the final blow to my hope that there’s any justice to be found in America’s penal systems is Scott’s making it perfectly clear that the condemned are to be gotten out of the way as fast as possible. No more Bill Poycks, no more chance for the falsely accused to be given time to prove their innocence.

    • @Catana Absolutely–it made me ill knowing he’d be dead in minutes. And really do not want to think about how Poyck felt during those minutes (though they really took his life 26 years ago). Reprehensible.

      So as the clock ticked, I got increasingly more panicky, so threw together that post (knowing of course it was too late; unfortunately i didn’t learn of his story until execution day), just out of respect for the guy.

      I noticed that the petition signature total was underwhelming, which is very disappointing considering his story got decent coverage. The total was just shy of 1,500, a far cry from the goal of 5,000.

      Thanks for commenting, Catana.

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