VERO BEACH, Fla. - Explaining why he kidnapped, tortured and killed six women, David Alan Gore alternately has suggested he had a split personality, was overcome by an angry killing force and once told a psychiatrist "the devil made me do it."
"You know, I didn't want to, but when the opportunity would arise it seems like the other nature would take over," Gore recounted in a 1984 sworn deposition. "It was, like, an obsession."
Gore, 58, is scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. Thursday at Florida State Prison for the 1983 first-degree murder of Vero Beach teenager Lynn Elliott. He pleaded guilty to killing five other women in Indian River County, Fla., between 1981, and 1983, often with the aid of his cousin Fred Waterfield, 59, who is serving life in prison.
But what really motivated the former citrus grove caretaker and auxiliary deputy sheriff, and then-divorced father of two sons turn into a ruthless serial killer?
Gore's own words offer some clues.
"It was like another control was over me, you know. I probably could be two people at one time," he recounted in a 1984 deposition. "I know for a fact that I was ... a separate person when I did these, and I wouldn't be on other occasions.
"If you want to get down to technicalities, it's like split personalities," Gore added. "It's two people, and a lot of it's got to be with the demon possessions ..."
Retired Detective Phil Redstone, who led the Elliott investigation for the Indian River County Sheriff's Office, still remembers the emptiness in Gore's "hollow" eyes as the condemned man led police through citrus groves and swamp-filled canals searching for shallow graves.
"If he'd gone hunting for rabbits the week before and he was telling his friend about it, that's what it seemed to me," Redstone recalled of Gore's demeanor. "Just a lack of emotions, like he was going on a fishing or hunting trip."
Redstone said he has a final question for Gore before his execution.
"How many other cases are there around Florida besides the one's we have here?" he asked. "I've always thought that, but I think he's done talking."
In interrogations following his arrest, Gore said he could feel a brutal, violent nature taking over before he killed.
"During that time, I seen two different people ... like my family seen one side of me," Gore said in a sworn statement. "Like Freddie (Waterfield) would see another side of me. It all revolved around drinking and the drug scene."
Former State Attorney Bob Stone, who prosecuted Gore for first-degree murder, said he's not sure what moved the one-time auxiliary deputy to target, torture and slay total strangers. But he's got a hunch.
"I think Gore had a thrill about doing that, just to take somebody's life," Stone said during a March interview. "Why, I don't know; it's sick, there's no question about it. But I don't believe there was any other type of motivation that he had other than he got a thrill out of it."
If anything motivated Gore to murder, Stone said it was a lust for power and control, particularly over women.
"I would say that certainly could be a factor in his case," he said.
Stone said he'll attend Gore's execution with Indian River County Judge David Morgan, who helped prosecute Gore as a former assistant state attorney.
"From the day (Elliott's murder) happened I said if he's executed, I want to be there," Stone said. "Time changes a lot of things and it's been almost 30 years. Now I kind of want to see if I really do believe in the death penalty."
In sworn statements and during mental health exams, Gore often blamed his crimes on the overpowering influence of Waterfield, whom he idolized.
"Usually when you see one, you're seeing the other," Gore stated about their relationship.
During their killing spree in the early 1980s, Gore said they operated by Waterfield's motto that "no witness is the best witness."
Gore's lawyers describe Waterfield in court papers as "a con artist who was outgoing, more aggressive and popular."
Waterfield used his dominion and control over his shy and socially-awkward cousin to push Gore to kidnap and kill when ordered to do so, Gore's lawyers have said.
"David depended on Freddy 'in a pathological, sick, exaggerated' way," Gore's lawyers wrote in papers filed with the Florida Supreme Court. "Freddy Waterfield substantially influenced David's behavior and his criminal activities."
Gore, too, told lawyers representing Waterfield that his cousin often pushed the pair into their brutal fits of abduction and murder.
"The very first time he suggested something about kidnapping girls, what was your reaction to that?" asked defense attorney Robert Pegg, now an Indian River County circuit judge who represented Waterfield in 1985.
"I more or less went along with it," Gore replied, according to court documents. "It was neither yay or nay, it was more or less 'okay.' "
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