Half-century on Death Row may be a record

“Justice delayed is justice denied” is a legal maxim meaning that if legal redress or equitable relief to an injured party is not forthcoming in a timely fashion, it is effectively the same as no remedy at all.

It is a concept that dates to Magna Carta, and earlier. William Penn said, “to delay Justice is Injustice.”

Stephen Orlando has been denied justice.

Orlando would be 68 years old today – if he had not been savagely murdered by racists in 1974.

Justice has been delayed for 50 years as lawyers bandied back and forth in the courts. For some reason the State Attorney’s Office has been unable to do its job and end this case in favor of the victim.

Meanwhile, Jacob John Dougan, one of the five men who killed Orlando in the hope of starting a race war in the city, has been fed, clothed, housed, educated and entertained by the taxpayers.

Elwood Barclay, Dougan and three other black men killed Orlando, who was white, in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, in 1974, after picking Orlando up as he was hitch-hiking. Barclay and Dougan got the death penalty. In 1985, however, the court reversed itself by ordering that Barclay’s sentence be commuted to life in prison with eligibility for parole in 25 years and that Dougan be re-sentenced. Dougan was sentenced to death again in 1987 and remains on Florida’s Death Row.

Dougan quite likely is the longest serving killer in America. The previous holder of that dubious title served only 45 years before his sentence was changed to life.

The vicious killing was labeled a “hate crime” by Murderpedia.

The facts, as found by the sentencing judge and quoted by the Florida Supreme Court, are as follows:

“The … defendants were part of a group that termed itself the ‘BLACK LIBERATION ARMY’ (BLA), and whose apparent sole purpose was to indiscriminately kill white persons and to start a revolution and a racial war.”

“The testimony showed that, on the evening of June 17, 1974, Dougan, Barclay, Crittendon, Evans and William Hearn set out in a car armed with a .22 caliber pistol and a knife with the intent to kill . . . any white person that they came upon under such advantageous circumstances that they could murder him, her or them.”

“That as they drove around the city of Jacksonville, they made several stops and observed white persons as possible victims, but decided that the circumstances were not advantageous and that they might be observed or thwarted. . .   At one stop, Dougan wrote out a note — which was to be placed on the body of the victim ultimately chosen for death.”

“Eventually the five men headed for Jacksonville Beach, where they picked up a hitchhiker, eighteen-year-old Stephen Anthony Orlando. Against his will and over his protest, they drove him to an isolated trash dump, ordered him out of the car, threw him down, and Barclay repeatedly stabbed him with a knife. Dougan then put his foot on Orlando’s head and shot him twice — once in the cheek and once in the ear — killing him instantly.”

“The evidence showed that none of the defendants knew or had ever seen Orlando before they murdered him. The note, which Dougan had previously written, was stuck to Orlando’s body by the knife of the murderers. The note read:”

“Warning to the oppressive state. No longer will your atrocities and brutalizing of black people be unpunished. The black man is no longer asleep. The revolution has begun and the oppressed will be victorious. The revolution will end when we are free. The Black Revolutionary Army. All power to the people …”

“Subsequent to the murder, the defendants Barclay and Dougan . . . made a number of tape recordings concerning the murder. “

In an incredible act of cruelty, one note was sent to Orlando’s mother. In it they said:

” The reason Stephen was only shot twice in the head was because we had a jive pistol. It only shot twice and then it jammed; you can tell it must have been made in America because it wasn’t worth a s***. He was stabbed in the back, in the chest and the stomach, ah, it was beautiful. You should have seen it. Ah, I enjoyed every minute of it. I loved watching the blood gush from his eyes. . . .”

” He died in style, though, begging, begging and pleading for mercy, just as black people did when you took them and hung them to the trees, burned their houses down, threw bombs in the same church that practices the same religion that you forced on these people, my people.”

” We are everywhere; you cannot hide from us. You have told your people to get off the streets and to stay home. That will not help, for one night they will come home and we will be there waiting. It has been said, look for us and you cannot see us; listen for us and you cannot hear us; feel for us and you cannot touch us. These are the characteristics of an urban guerilla.”

The sentencing judge, who had seen the horrors of World War II, wrote:

“Had the defendant been exposed to the carnage of the battlefields and the horrors of the concentration camps instead of movies, television programs and revolutionary tracts glorifying violence and racial strife — then perhaps his thoughts and actions would have taken a less violent course.”

“Having set forth my personal experiences above, it is understandable that I am not easily shocked or moved by tragedy — but this present murder and call for racial war is especially shocking, and meets every definition of heinous, atrocious and cruel. The perpetrator thereby forfeits further right to life — for certainly his life is no more sacred than that of the innocent 18-year-old victim, Stephen Anthony Orlando.”

Yet Dougan continues to enjoy life. Justice has been denied.

Lloyd Brown

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.


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