A Tampa man convicted in 2013 of murder saw his death sentence overturned last week in response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court case that invalidated the sentencing rules used by the state of Florida in capital murder cases.
The 36-year-old Tampanian was convicted of a 2007 murder of a 50-year-old Vietnamese immigrant. According to investigators, he laid in wait for the mother of three in a van, approaching her as she jogged in the pre-dawn hours in Seffner.
Per trial testimony in 2013, the man slit her throat to silence her screams, then proceeded to sexually assault her. They say he then left her corpse in the van, drove it to a field in Gibsonton, and lit it on fire.
After being presented with testimony, physical evidence, and DNA evidence, the man was convicted by a Hillsborough County jury. During the sentencing phase, the jury heard testimony that the man experienced a traumatic upbringing, being encouraged to steal at a young age and possibly being molested by a relative.
However, the jury was unmoved, assigning him a sentence of death by a majority vote.
Practically assured to meet his end in Florida’s death chamber, the man spent the next several years on death row until almost exactly two years ago, when the United States Supreme Court ruled Florida’s system unconstitutional due to the power it gave to judges to make final determinations on sentencing.
The man now awaits re-sentencing in two weeks. As county prosecutors say they are not pursuing the death penalty at this time, he will likely be sentenced to life without parole.
The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been representing people charged with capital murder, felony drug charges, drunk driving, government fraud, and white-collar crimes for over a quarter century. Contact our office today to discuss your Tampa Bay-area state or federal charges.