A man on Florida’s Death Row scheduled for execution early next month has been granted a stay of execution by a Federal judge to allow the public defender’s office to more thoroughly review his case.
The 73-year-old inmate was convicted of the 1985 murder of a 14-year-old Pinellas County girl, along with a now-64-year-old man who is currently serving a life sentence for the crime. According to the inmate’s attorneys, new evidence has come to light that proves their client’s innocence and establishes the other man’s sole guilt.
Both men were charged with the murder at the subsequent trial, with jurors finding them both responsible for the girl’s brutal death from stabbing, beating, and drowning. Witnesses at the trial placed the victim with the two men plus one other man. However, the elder inmate’s attorneys say he was convicted largely on the basis of jailhouse informants who said they heard him make statements regarding his alleged part in the murder.
The condemned man’s attorneys also point to an affidavit from 2017 sworn out by the other inmate stating that he alone was responsible for the murder for which they were both convicted. However, in subsequent court testimony the other inmate partially recanted some content in the affidavit and claimed his right against self incrimination when questioned on other parts of it.
Florida’s governor signed the condemned man’s death warrant last month, prompting his appellate attorneys to withdraw due to concerns over conflicts of interest. He was then appointed federal public defenders who subsequently filed a request to stay the execution, as the November date did not give them sufficient time to complete a thorough review of the case. A federal judge agreed, granting the man a 90-day stay ending on December 30.
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.