published Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Florida Supreme Court affirms death sentence for killer who beheaded a woman

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Supreme Court has unanimously affirmed the death sentence of a drifter convicted of abducting and beheading a woman in north Florida’s Apalachicola National Forest in 2007.

The court on Thursday upheld the sentence and kidnapping and murder convictions for 66-year-old Gary Michael Hilton.

He was convicted in the murder of Cheryl Dunlap of Crawfordville in north Florida. She was a 46-year-old nurse and Sunday school teacher.

The court found Hilton’s various arguments insufficient to reverse and found the death sentence to be in proportion to the crime.

Hilton received a life sentence after pleading guilty to killing another woman in Georgia. He also pleaded guilty and was imprisoned for life for ambushing and killing an elderly couple while they were hiking in North Carolina.

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