TAMPA (FOX 13) - Days after Governor Rick Scott signed a death warrant for a convicted Bay Area serial killer, the mother and stepfather of one of Oscar Ray Bolin's victims discussed their "relief" that an end to their ordeal is in sight.
Donna and John Witmer last saw Stephanie Collins on Nov. 5, 1986. That day seems both so long ago and like just yesterday to them.
"Time goes on, your life changes, but you still go back certain times and it's still emotional," Donna said Tuesday. "She was a typical teenager. She was excited in school, looking forward to college actually. She wanted to go into interior design."
One month after Collins, 17, disappeared, her body was discovered on a Pasco County dirt road. That same day, on that same dirt road, investigators also found the body of Teri Lynn Matthews. Earlier that year, someone murdered another victim, Natalie Blanche Holley.
Four years later, Oscar Ray Bolin was charged with all three murders. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to death.
But Bolin's cases have taken several turns. Each of the convictions and sentences have been overturned multiple times and, in each case, he has been convicted again. Two cases, including Collins', are still being appealed.
Bolin, however, is out of appeals in the Matthews case and on Friday, Scott set an execution date of Jan. 7.
"He's not going to play the justice system anymore. We're not going to be looking at him in a courtroom anymore. And he's going to pay the ultimate price," Donna said.
"There's a little bit of satisfaction in knowing that he's sitting up there in a cage, knowing that finally justice has caught up to him," added John.
In 2014, a review by the Office of the Inspector General brought another twist: the OIG determined agents in the FBI Crime Lab, including one who worked on Bolin's cases, were falsifying evidence. That's a reason two of the cases are still in the appeals stage.
But a legal expert said because Oscar Ray Bolin has now exhausted all of his appeals in the Matthews case, there is little chance the U.S. Supreme Court will stop the execution.
For Collins' family, this is a sign that some closure may finally be in sight.
"When I got the call on Friday that the Governor had signed the death warrant and that he was actually going to be executed and actually a date, it really kind of sets you back. It's like, 'My gosh, after all this time, finally this is going to be over,'" Donna said.
She added that she still has questions she isn't sure she'll ever have answered.
"You think, just for five minutes, would I like to sit down in front of him and say, 'Why? I need to know why. Why did you do this? She never did anything to you.' But I don't think you'd get an honest answer anyway," Donna said.
The Witmers said they plan on attending Bolin's execution.