Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Kid on the Row


One of the most horrific murders you’ll ever read about occurred on February 25, 2006 in Ocoee, Florida. There was never any question about the killer’s identity and he was quickly convicted and sentenced to death. But it’s questionable whether the murderer will ever see justice. You see, a psychologist hired by the defense diagnosed him with a learning disability and that gives future courts plenty of wiggle room to find a way out of actually executing him. [Photo of murder victim Amelia Sookdeo]

As she’d done many times, 17-year-old Amelia Sookdeo waited until her parents went to sleep then climbed out her bedroom window to meet her lover. Dane Abdool, 19, a high school dropout and automobile mechanic, met her in his Volkswagon and they drove the short distance to his apartment. There they drank liquor and made love.

In the afterglow of the act, Amelia informed Abdool that she was pregnant. Whether she was pressuring him to marry her or break up with his other girlfriend is unknown, but post-mortem tests revealed that she was mistaken or lying. Amelia was not pregnant.

Whatever the case, Abdool decided he’d had enough. He told Amelia he was taking her home. Instead, he stopped at a local 7-11 convenience store where he purchased duct tape and a gasoline can. Then he went to the pump and filled the can. Instead of taking Amelia home, Abdool drove to a secluded area on County Road 545 in nearby Winter Garden.

By this time, Amelia was suspicious. She tried to fight back as Abdool began tapng her wrists and feet together. She screamed and struggled, but he succeeded in binding her. Then he pulled her out of the car. As Amelia lay on the ground, Abdool started to pour the gasoline on her. The spout on the can only let the liquid drip out, so he took off the cap and doused Amelia from head to toe.

Like a monster looming over his frightened victim, Abdool used a cigarette lighter to ignite the girl. As the blaze flashed into the darkness, Abdool ran back to his car. Mesmerized, he watched for several minutes as his girlfriend burned. Finally, he screeched away.

Later, a police officer spotted the fire. But it was too late. The once-beautiful girl was dead.

The evidence against Abdool was overwhelming. The 7-11 store produced videos of him purchasing tape, a can, and gasoline. Cops found that he had burned his shoe and foot when he lit the fire. His tire tracks were found next to the dead girl. Two friends testified that Abdool had offered them $400 to kill Amelia. After he saw the evidence against him, Abdool made a lengthy confession to police.

In court, prosecutors showed jurors a photo of the charred body of Amelia. She lay in a fetal position. Her feet and wrists were still taped. In addition to eighty percent of her body being burned, the flames had entered her mouth and seared her throat and esophagus to charcoal.

The defense never challenged the evidence. Instead, they called a psychologist who proposed that Abdool has “personality disorders, is emotionally immature and has low intelligence.”

After he was found guilty, Orange County Circuit Court Judge Lisa Munyon stated that the cruel viciousness of the murder and the “excruciating pain” felt by the victim were among her reasons for sentencing Abdool to death. She also stated that his “cold, calculated planning” of the crime qualified him for execution. Judge Munyon ended by saying: “May almighty God have mercy on your soul.”

Jack Sookdeo, grandfather of the murdered girl, stated that lethal injection isn’t good enough. “[Abdool] should have been burned, the way he burned my granddaughter,” Sookdeo said. No doubt many spectators felt the same way.

1 comment:

R in ATL said...

What an animal. Hell's fires won't be hot enough for him. What kind of a**hole would do this to a young girl just for saying she was pregnant? He should have used birth control if he was that dead set against getting her pregnant. This is too sick for words.

I wish the state of Florida could roast him him like a luau pig for this heinous crime.