HUNTER: Florida execution’s stark contrast with Paul Bernardo brouhaha

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One killer lives, and the other dies.

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Sounds like the premise of a John Woo or Ringo Lam Hong Kong gangster blockbuster. Toss in a few nifty twists, and voila …

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But this ain’t a movie.

By a stroke of geographical and historical luck, Canada’s notorious schoolgirl killer Paul Bernardo remains among us. With his proxies who honeycomb nearly every spore in the justice system, he remains a middle finger.

To his victims, their families and society at large.

And he is back in the news after it emerged that this 59-year-old monster who raped and murdered young women with abandon was moving to comfier digs at a Quebec medium-security prison.

Apparently, no one in corrections or public safety thought that maybe embattled Minister Marco Mendicino and his boss, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, should be in the loop.

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A little more than 2,000 km away, due south down I-95 in Starke, Fla., it was a different story. This tiny town of around 6,000 is a world away from Ottawa’s uptight corridors of power and pretension.

Being in the Bible Belt, it has a more conservative bent and there are more churches than watering holes.

Fourteen minutes away from Starke is the Florida State Prison, home to the Sunshine State’s bulging death row whose population dropped by one on Thursday.

This booking photo provided by the Florida Department of Corrections shows Duane Owen.
This booking photo provided by the Florida Department of Corrections shows Duane Owen. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

There would be no parole hearings, faint hope clauses and medium security prison for Duane Owen. His final destination was a cold, unmarked wooden box in the prison yard.

The 62-year-old double killer got the big adios via lethal injection on Thursday night. The Associated Press report said the party kicked off at 6:01 p.m. EDT and he was done and dusted by 6:14 p.m.

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Owen had spent nearly 40 years on Florida’s death row, one of the longest on record. He had nothing to say.

But before you shout “root causes,” let’s take a look at Owen’s vile crimes.

On March 24, 1984, Karen Slattery, 14, was babysitting two children at a home in Delray Beach. Owen raped the terrified teen before stabbing her to death. The two children were sleeping and unharmed.

Two months later, he raped Georgianna Worden, 38, before battering her to death with a hammer. Her children were asleep at the time of the murder. The morning after, one of her kids discovered her lifeless body.

Two other women were attacked in similar fashion but miraculously, they survived.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Owen’s lawyers argued he was insane. State headshrinkers said the insanity ploy was a ruse, a gambit to save his life.

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In the end, it didn’t matter. The state Supreme Court rejected his latest appeal last week and the U.S. Supreme Court shot him down Wednesday.

And so, the terrible, wretched life of Duane Owen hit the finish line at suppertime on Thursday.

According to the wire report, several family members of his victims from long ago witnessed the execution.

There were no cheers, only silence, the AP said. And perhaps some solace in knowing a 40-year nightmare has had its coda.

There is no denouement in Canada and the matter of Paul Bernardo.

I’m not a supporter or believer in the death penalty but this week … it sure looks good.

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