Florida man convicted in murder of trooper wants off death row because of dementia diagnosis

Florida man convicted in murder of trooper wants off death row because of dementia diagnosis
Daniel Burns Jr. (Source: Manatee County Sheriff's Office)

(WWSB) - A man who has been on death row for the past 30 years wants off because of a dementia diagnosis.

Now 73-year-old Daniel Burns was convicted of first-degree murder of a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper in 1988.

On August 18,1987, 28-year-old Trooper Jeffrey Young was shot and killed during a traffic stop along I-75, near the very bridge that now bears his name.

FHP Trooper Jeff Young
FHP Trooper Jeff Young (Source: Manatee County Sheriff's Office)

The family of Trooper Young has been awaiting for a response since this tragedy. “To condemn someone to death and put them in prison for 25 years to live off the money of the people of Florida is ridiculous,” said Dave Smith, Young’s brother.

In August of July of 2013, when ABC7 covered this story it was believed the execution would come by the end of 2013.

Also in July of 2013, a Federal appeals court denied Daniel Burns Jr his latest request. It is the last and final request he can make to appeal his conviction relating to the death of FHP Trooper Jeff Young in 1987.

Burns has asked for his sentence to be vacated between 1988 and 1994, there were multiple motions filed for him to be resentenced to life in prison, including one saying the death penalty is racist

After a 2018, evaluation by a doctor Burns was diagnosed with dementia and his attorneys want the death sentenced revoked.

On Thursday afternoon, Burns attorneys presented their argument during a court hearing. His attorneys also want a PET scan and an MRI of Burns’ brain “to complete a diagnosis related to his deteriorating mental and physical condition.”

Details are still updating if he will be off of death row. Prosecutors are also requesting reports and raw data from doctors’ evaluations.

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