Latest News From Florida’s Death Row

Prosecution, Defense Rest in Delmer Smith III Murder Trial: In a trial that began Monday, the prosecution and defense have already made their closing statements. The defendant did not testify. In fact, the defense, which recommended to Smith that he not testify, did not put any witnesses on the stand, after Judge Peter Dubensky denied a request that he order an acquittal.

Convicted Killer From Brevard Resentenced: A Brevard County judge resentenced a convicted killer to life in prison without the possibility of parole after his death sentence was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court.

Former Jabil Executive Patrick Evans Sentenced to Death for the Murder of His Wife, Her Boyfriend: Patrick Evans, a former Jabil executive in St. Petersburg, was sentenced to death for the murders of his estranged wife and her lover. A 911 tape was key in the state’s case.

Killer Paul Beasley Johnson to Get Death Penalty Hearing:  A jury won’t decide until next year whether triple murderer Paul Beasley Johnson should again be sent to Florida’s death row for a 1981 drug-fueled killing spree. The 63-year-old Eagle Lake man remains convicted of the fatal shootings of three people, including Polk County sheriff’s Deputy Theron A. Burnham.

Editorial: Don’t Debate Capital Punishment From ‘Edges’: In an editorial out of Tallahassee, a local rabbi addresses the death penalty debate from a side not often heard: the Jewish faith. “What kind of justice system do we really desire?” he asks.
Jurors Recommend Death for Car-Lot Murderer: On Wednesday, jurors gave William Roger Davis III what he had asked for: They recommended he be put to death for the rape and murder of a 19-year-old woman he abducted from a used car lot in Seminole County three years ago. “I will not spend the next 40 to 50 years in prison,” Davis, 34, testified Tuesday as he explicitly asked to be executed.

 Attorney Fighting to Overturn Death Sentence in 1985 Murder:  The defendant’s credibility was shattered, certain evidence was withheld from jurors and the science presented during trial — which at the time sealed the case for the state — was faulty, an appellate attorney said Monday. Paul Hildwin didn’t have a chance when he stood trial in 1986 for the murder of Vronzettie Cox, said Martin McClain, who gave an energized and emotional plea to Hernando County Circuit Judge Richard Tombrink Jr.

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