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Killer of Evinrude Heiress Electrocuted

October 22, 1996

STARKE, Fla. (AP) _ A high-school dropout was executed Monday night for kidnapping and killing an heiress to the Evinrude motor fortune while robbing the convenience store where she worked.

John Earl Bush, 38, was electrocuted for the fatal stabbing of Frances Julia Slater in 1982 in Stuart. He was pronounced dead at 7:09 p.m.

Just moments before, Bush shook his head no and scanned the observers’ gallery when asked if he had any final words.

The Supreme Court denied Bush’s last appeal just 90 minutes before his execution. It had denied another appeal one day earlier.

Ms. Slater, 18, was the granddaughter of actress Frances Langford and Ralph Evinrude, founder of the marine motor company that bears his name.

Bush and three other men robbed her store of $134 and forced her into their car. They drove 13 miles, then stabbed and shot her and pushed her out of the car.

Bush was sentenced to death Nov. 22, 1982, after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder, armed robbery and kidnapping.

Two accomplices were condemned, although one awaits resentencing, and the third was sentenced to life in prison.

Bush, a native of Fort Pierce, dropped out of high school in the 9th grade and later served five years in prison for rape and robbery. He was released from parole in December 1981, four months before Ms. Slater was killed.

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