Crime

William Van Poyck, to Be Executed Tomorrow, Had Disturbing Childhood, Records Show

Long before the prison guard was executed in the botched jailbreak and William Van Poyck, blood-streaked and clutching a pistol, zipped his Cadillac through West Palm Beach blasting several slugs into pursuing cop cars, there were clues of the impending chaos.

Van Poyck -- who was sentenced to death in late 1988 for his role in the guard's murder and will be executed tomorrow at 6 p.m. -- grew up in Miami under the yoke of an indifferent father and three allegedly abusive women, according to never-before-disclosed court testimony and affidavits from the mid-1990s. From there, Van Poyck bounced into juvenile detention centers riddled with controversy and child abuse before he landed in prison at age 17 -- where he would live virtually his entire adult life.

And though Van Poyck and his family maintain the convict never squeezed the shotgun trigger that killed the guard that bloody day in 1987, Van Poyck's early life in Miami carried the same themes as his adult one: violence, disharmony, and instability. It began with his mother's death.

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Terrence McCoy