First Execution Of 2016: Florida Serial Killer Oscar Ray Bolin

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
table for lethal injectiontable for lethal injection

In 1986, Oscar Ray Bolin beat and stabbed 26-year-old Teri Lynn Matthews to death in Tampa, Florida. She wasn’t his only victim -- Bolin was also convicted of murdering 17-year-old Stephanie Collins and 25-year-old Natalie Holley, both of whom died the same way that year.

Now 53, Bolin was the first person executed by the United States in 2016. He was pronounced dead by lethal injection Jan. 7 at 10:16 p.m. at Florida State Prison, the Associated Press reports.

Although it’s been 30 years since Bolin killed his victims, he went through several trials due to legal errors and was ultimately found guilty several different times by several different juries. Though the legal system has repeatedly condemned him, Bolin’s wife, a paralegal who divorced her previous husband to marry Bolin 10 years after the murders, maintained his innocence throughout the trials.

For the loved ones of those who died, Bolin’s death means some form of justice. Kathleen Reeves, the 78-year-old mother of Matthews, attended the execution.

"I feel relief that it finally occurred," she told the AP.

The number of people executed and the number of people sentenced to death in the U.S. dropped in 2015, according to NBC News. There were only 28 executions total -- the lowest number since 1991. A total of 49 people were sentenced to death last year as well -- the lowest number since 1973.

Sources: AP via Bay News 9, NBC News / Photo Credit: Ken Piorkowski/Flickr, Rosalie Bolin via ABC News