Friday, July 19, 2024

Execution Stayed for Pennsylvania Inmate Paul Gamboa-Taylor Ahead of May 14, 2021

Paul Gamboa-Taylor, Pennsylvania

Updated: Monday, May 10, 2021

Paul E. Gamboa Taylor was scheduled to be executed on Friday, May 14, 2021, at the State Correctional Institute Rockview, in Rockview, Pennsylvania. His execution has been stayed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. Sixty-year-old Paul is convicted of murdering his wife, 23-year-old Valerie; two of their children, four-year-old Paul, two-year-old Jasmine: Valerie’s mother, 42-year-old Donna Barshinger; and Donna’s son, two-year-old Lance, on May 18, 1991, in York, Pennsylvania. Paul has spent the last 29 years on death row in Pennsylvania.

Paul was married to Valerie, with whom he had three children. He was known to take his children to a nearby park to play. Neighbors indicated that he was generally well-liked, however Paul and Valerie were known to argue, with her threatening to leave more than once. In January 1991, Paul lost his job as a production line worker at a dental supply company.

During the very early morning hours of May 18, 1991, Paul Gamboa-Taylor returned to the home he shared with his wife Valerie, their three children, Paul, Jasmine, and Rockelle, Valerie’s mother Donna, and Donna’s son, Lance. When Gamboa-Taylor arrived home, everyone was asleep, except for Valerie, who was with a friend. Gamboa-Taylor, upset over his drug addiction and his wife’s indifference to the addiction, took a ball-peen hammer out of his toolbox after arriving home. He also grabbed a knife from the kitchen.

Gamboa-Taylor went into Donna’s bedroom, hammered her in the head three times and cut her throat with the knife. He then hit Lance over the head several times with the hammer. Leaving Donna’s bedroom, Gamboa-Taylor went into the bedroom where his three children slept. He attacked and killed Jasmine and Paul. All four died from their injuries. Gamboa-Taylor then took the youngest child, Rockelle into the living room where the two of them waited about 11 hours for Valerie to return.

Around noon on May 18, 1991, Valerie was driven home by her friend Tina, with whom she had been with the previous evening. Valerie needed to pick up a pair of pants and Tina waited for her. Shortly after Valerie entered the house, Gamboa-Taylor came out and told Tina that she could leave. After returning to the house, Gamboa-Taylor beat Valerie with the hammer and tied a plastic bag over her head, killing her.

Gamboa-Taylor placed the murder weapon under the kitchen sink and attempted to commit suicide with various methods. When he failed, Gamboa-Taylor called the police for help. Police broke into the home after hearing screaming. They found blood everywhere and Gamboa-Taylor was in the bathtub. Gamboa-Taylor was taken to a hospital to be treated from his self-inflicted injuries. Later, while in police custody, Gamboa-Taylor submitted a written confession of his crimes.

Gamboa-Taylor pled guilty to the five murders and chose not to offer up any defense, including mitigating evidence, during any part of his trial and sentencing. Gamboa-Taylor was given four death sentences, and one sentence of life in prison.

Gamboa-Taylor’s notice of execution was issued by Department of Corrections Secretary John Wentzel, as Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has refused to sign any execution warrants. If the Governor does not sign an execution notice within a specified time frame, state law requires the corrections secretary to issue the execution notice.

Gamboa-Taylor has been granted a temporary reprieve of execution by Governor Wolf. The Governor’s reprieve is unexpected, as on Friday, February 13, 2015, Governor Wolf announced a moratorium on execution in Pennsylvania, announcing that before the state resumes executions, he wanted a report on capital punishment in the state, which was begun in 2011, to be completed. The report was completed in June 2018, and upon review, Governor Wolf maintained the moratorium, stating that the report, which highlight several flaws in the capital punishment system, supports his decision.

Please pray for peace for the families of Valerie, Paul, Jasmine, Donna, and Lance. Please pray for strength for the family of Paul Gamboa-Taylor. Please pray that if Paul is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be provided prior to his execution. Pray that Paul may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.

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