Florida man executed for 1986 murder case

State Execution With Local Ties
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 4:03 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Darryl Barwick was executed Wednesday for breaking into a woman’s home and stabbing her to death in 1986, a crime that came months after he was released from prison for rape.

According to the Associated Press, the 56-year-old was pronounced dead at 6:14 p.m. E.S.T. Wednesday following a lethal injection at Florida State Prison, the officer of Gov. Ron DeSantis said. The U.S. Supreme Court denied his final appeal for a stay of execution earlier in the day.

The 14th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Larry Basford issued the following statement after the execution: “This is a case where there has never been a doubt about the defendant’s guilt. Not one, but two juries found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and recommended that he be sentenced to death. Unfortunately, it took 37 years from the time of the crime for that punishment to be carried out in this case. We appreciate the tireless efforts of the Attorney General’s Office and Governor DeSantis’ office to obtain justice for the victim and her family.”

Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford says he is glad justice has been served.

“We’ve got a system of justice here in our country that does include when you take someone’s life under certain circumstances that the death penalty is appropriate and that’s what was applied in this case,” Ford said. “I agree with you know making sure that being careful and making sure that no stones left unturned, but 37 years is absolutely ridiculous so I’m glad to see that this is moving forward.”

Neither members of Wendt’s nor Barwick’s families attended the execution.

A man is set to be executed Wednesday after being convicted in a Panama City murder case in 1986.

Darryl Barwick was convicted 37 years ago after stabbing 24-year-old Rebecca Wendt 38 times.

According to court records, Wendt was sunbathing at her apartment complex in March of 1986, when Barwick followed her inside to her apartment and attacked her.

Investigators found blood fingerprints and other DNA evidence at the scene. When Barwick was arrested, he told officials he originally intended to rob Wendt.

He was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death two months later.

He is scheduled for execution on May 3, at 5 p.m. CST.

NewsChannel 7 has followed this case since its very beginning. Stay tuned as we see it through to the very end.

You can watch archives of our coverage down below, as well as our YouTube page.

In 1986, Bay County Sheriff's Office and Springfield Police search for the man who killed 24-year-old Rebecca Wendt, later to be identified as Darryl Barwick.
In 1986, Darryl Barwick makes his first court appearance after being arrested earlier in the week for the murder of Rebecca Wendt.