A judge will now decide whether to accept the recommendation, or hand down a life sentence.
The vote was 10-2, and revealed to the court after three hours of deliberations.
The Court ruled against Davis’s appeal of his conviction for the 1995 rape and murder of Caleasha Cunningham in Duval County. The case summary from the Florida Commission on Capital Cases is as follows:
Toney Davis lived with Gwen Cunningham from September 1992 until 12/09/92. On 12/09/92, Gwen Cunningham left her two-year-old daughter, Caleasha, in the care of Davis while she ran an errand. An acquaintance of Davis, Thomas Moore, arrived at the apartment around 12:45 p.m. Davis answered the door with Caleasha draped over his arm. Davis told Moore that Caleasha had choked on a French fry, and while Moore called 911, Davis gave Caleasha mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Prior to the 911 call, neighbors reported hearing thumping noises and Davis’ raised voice coming from the apartment.
Caleasha was wet, unconscious, and had blood in her mouth when she was examined at the apartment. She was naked from the waist down, although she was fully clothed when Gwen Cunningham left the apartment. Caleasha was revived, but later died on 12/10/92.
The emergency room doctor who examined Caleasha noticed bruising, swelling of the brain, and pools of blood in the skull, as well as injuries that suggested vaginal penetration by a penis, finger, or other object. The cause of death was cerebral hemorrhage, caused by four blows to the head.
Caleasha’s hair bow was found in the bed and her blood was found on the sheet, pillowcase, in the bathroom, and on the crotch of Davis’ shorts and underwear.
Robert Hendrix, 47, was convicted in the August 1990 murders of his cousin Elmer Scott and Scott’s wife, Michelle, in Lake County. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Scott was killed to keep him from testifying in an upcoming armed robbery case that could have resulted in Hendrix serving life in prison. Scott’s wife was then killed because she could identify Hendrix.
Hendrix is slated for execution on April 23. His attorneys argued that he had ineffective counsel, that the trial judge was biased, and that the prosecutors committed a Brady violation by withholding evidence about an informer. However, the Court ruled that his claims were without merit, and at this time his execution is set to proceed.