Second State Execution
STARKE, Fla. (AP) - A Florida man was executed Wednesday for
murdering a 45-year-old mother of two who was raped, tortured, and
strangled after a car she was in broke down on a highway 26 years
John Richard Marek, 47, died at 6:33 p.m. Wednesday after receiving an
injection at Florida State Prison.
He was condemned for the first-degree murder and kidnapping of
Adela Marie Simmons, whose nude body was found the day after she
climbed into a pickup truck to get help after a friend's car broke
down on Florida's Turnpike in Palm Beach County in 1983.
Marek's last statement was "Jesus remember us sinners" and he
followed it with the Lord's Prayer, according to Gretl Plessinger,
a Department of Correction spokeswoman. It had been inaudible to
members of the media and witnesses, which included Simmons'
Marek's appeals were turned down by the U.S. and Florida Supreme
Courts on Wednesday. He had claimed the other man in the truck,
Raymond Wigley, killed Simmons.
Martin McClain, Marek's attorney, tracked down inmates who
claimed Wigley told them he was the killer. Wigley, who had
received a life sentence, was murdered in prison in 2000.
Simmons and her friend Jean Trach were returning to Miami from a
vacation in Clearwater on June 16, 1983, when Trach's car began
stalling. As the Barry University co-workers neared Jupiter on the
turnpike, the car wouldn't restart.
Marek and Wigley stopped their pickup truck and offered to take
one of them to the next toll booth to call for help. Simmons
volunteered over Trach's warnings.
A police officer stopped Marek and Wigley about 3:30 a.m. as
they walked away from a Dania Beach lifeguard stand. They got into
a pickup truck - later determined to be stolen - and drove away.
Simmons' body was found inside the lifeguard tower about 7 a.m.
That evening, Wigley was arrested in Daytona Beach, driving the
truck. Inside was a gold watch, gold pendant and gold earring
belonging to Simmons and a gun. Marek was arrested at Daytona
Marek testified that after they picked up Simmons, he fell
asleep. When he awoke, he said the woman was not in the truck. He
testified Wigley told him he had dropped her off at a gas station.
He testified he again fell asleep and when he woke up, he was on
Fingerprints found at the lifeguard station matched both Wigley
and Marek, but only Marek's prints were found inside the
observation deck, where the body was found.
Wigley testified that the victim was forced to perform oral sex
and repeatedly sexually assaulted.
After the execution, Alan Bantau, Simmons' son-in-law, spoke on
behalf of Simmons' daughters Vivienne Yao and Aileen Simmons
"It's painful for me to think about how she spent her last
evening alive, how she suffered at the hands of John Richard Marek
and Raymond Wigley. Nothing prepares you for losing someone you
love in such a horrible manner," Bantau said.
Andrei Trach, Jean Trach's son, also spoke.
"I have no pity for the animal that was executed this evening.
He got off easy. He's with his maker and his maker's wrath. I pray
God shows no pity on his soul," Trach said.
Marek had a three-hour visit Wednesday from his girlfriend,
Marion Dollinger from Eppelheim, Germany, said Plessinger, a
Department of Correction spokeswoman. She said he was calm and
quiet in the hours before his death.
He met with an Episcopalian minister in the afternoon. He
ordered a last meal of a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich with
mayonnaise and wheat bread, onion rings, french fries, blueberries
and strawberries and whipped cream, and a Dr Pepper.
About 20 death penalty opponents gathered in a grassy field
outside the prison to protest the execution.
"People think that because we protest the death penalty, we're
in favor of what people did," said Martha Lushman, 47, of Palm
Bay. "No, we don't agree with what they did. They did wrong. But
we don't believe, I don't believe, it's our decision to terminate
Marek's was the 68th Florida execution since the death penalty
was reinstated in 1979, the 24th by injection and the second this
"It's a question of justice. The death penalty doesn't serve
any use in our modern society. It should be abolished, at least in
favor of life without parole," said Joseph Koechler, 66, from
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