Convicted child killer executed 32 years after killing girl - WFLA News Channel 8

Convicted child killer executed 32 years after killing girl

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PINELLAS COUNTY, FL -

Florida executed one of the longest-serving inmates on its death row Wednesday evening, 32 years after he kidnapped and murdered a 10-year-old Pinellas County girl who was riding her bike to school after a dentist put on her braces.

Larry Eugene Mann was put to death by lethal injection for kidnapping and murdering Elisa Vera Nelson on Nov. 4, 1980. Melissa Sellers, a spokeswoman for Governor. Rick Scott's office, said Mann was pronounced dead at 7:19 p.m. at the Florida State Prison in Starke.

Mann answered "Uh, no sir," when asked if he had any last words before the procedure began. There were 28 witnesses to the execution, including media and corrections personnel, and a group of Elisa's relatives sat in the front row wearing buttons with her photo on them.

"I want him punished for what he did to my niece and what it's done to my family," said Elisa's Aunt Wanda Vekasi prior to Wednesday night's execution.

Vekasi said her niece was late to school that morning because she had a dentist appointment. Her mother wrote an excuse note for her to give to teachers. Elisa then set off on her bicycle around 10 a.m. for the short ride from her house to Palm Harbor Elementary School. She never made it to class.

"We all try to tell our kids about those green-eyed monsters out there and Lisa had been told endlessly," explained Vekasi.

Investigators said a sexual predator on parole, named Larry Mann, somehow snatched Elisa off the street and took her to a nearby orange grove. He murdered her, as she tried to fight him off, deputies said.

"They figured that she had stabbed him with a pencil maybe in her backpack," said Vekasi.

Mann has appealed his death sentence for the last 32 years causing continued agony for Elisa's relatives.

"There's no gray area," said Vekasi. "He was guilty and why did it have to take 32 years to finish this?"

Vekasi said she's attended several executions in Starke to show support for Florida's death penalty, but did not attend Wednesday night.  She said Elisa's parents and other relatives made the trip to Starke and sat in the front row wearing buttons with her picture on them.

Investigators said Mann could have died knowing about other unsolved cases. Mississippi authorities have tied him to three cold cases there, but said there was never enough solid evidence to officially charge him.

 

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