Lancelot Armstrong – black, age 26 (re-sentence after appellate reversal)

Sentenced to death in Broward County, Florida
By: A judge, after a 9-3 recommendation of death by a jury.
Date of crime: February 17, 1990
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Armstrong killed a Broward County deputy who was investigating the robbery of a local Church’s Fried Chicken restaurant. This case was up for resentencing and there is no other information available.
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: AP Alert – Florida 4/26/2007

Howard Steven Ault – white, age 30 (re-sentence after appellate reversal)

Sentenced to death in Broward County, Florida
By: A judge after his original sentence was vacated in 2003.
Date of crime: November 4, 1996
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Howard Ault offered two girls a ride home from school. Once at his home, Ault sexually abused the eleven year old girl, strangled her to death with his bare hands, and then smoked a cigarette. After he finished, he strangled her seven year old sister with his bare hands. The prosecution had little difficulty in convicting Ault of the murders after confessions to police and every reporter that was willing to hear the gruesome story. Sentencing in the matter took eleven years due to Ault’s continuous hiring and firing of attorneys and his intermittent demands for self-representation. During sentencing, prosecutors were able to demonstrate a history of sexual assaults throughout Ault’s past. Defense counsel argued during sentencing that Ault was mentally ill and had been the victim of repeated sexual abuse by his older brother while growing up.
Prosecutor(s): Tim Donnelly
Defense lawyer(s): Mitchell Polay
Sources: Miami Herald 10/25/2007 (2007 WLNR 20930323), (2007 WLNR 20930293)

Robert Bailey – white, age 22

Sentenced to death in Bay County, Florida
By: A judge, after an 11-1 recommendation of death by a jury.
Date of crime: March 27, 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Robert Bailey was on parole for armed burglary in Wisconsin at the time of a routine police stop in Florida. Fearing that he would be returned to prison, Bailey shot a Panama City Beach Police Sergeant twice in the chest at point blank range. Bailey fired a third round that missed the officer and shattered the window of a passing van. The officer survived long enough to call for back-up and briefly speak to officers who arrived on scene. The state had plentiful evidence linking Bailey to the shooting through the testimony of two responding officers, the driver of the van, a resident of the neighborhood who happened to be stopped behind the shooting, and Bailey’s own passenger. Bailey fled the scene on foot and was found shortly afterward. The jury found two statutory aggravators: Bailey was on parole at the time of the shooting; and, killing to avoid arrest. Defense offered eight mitigating circumstances, including: Bailey’s mental imparities; inability to appreciate the criminality of his actions; acting under heightened emotional distress; age at the time of the offense (22); and, being the product of a broken home.
Prosecutor(s): Steve Meadows
Defense lawyer(s): Mike Flowers
Sources: Wisconsin State Journal 4/13/2007 (2007 WLNR 7107787); Panama City News Herald 4/12/2007 (2007 WLNR 6979259), 2/15/2007 (2007 WLNR 3004363)

James Barnes – white, age 26

Sentenced to death in Brevard County, Florida
By: A judge.
Date of crime: April 20, 1988
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Using DNA evidence, police linked James Barnes to the brutal rape, torture, and murder of a woman discovered in 1988. Barnes confessed to the entire event. No further information available.
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: NBC 2 WESH News, Orlando, 1/25/2007 at 6:00 (2007 WLNR 1546071)

Harrell Franklin Braddy – black, age 49

Sentenced to death in Miami-Dade County, Florida
By: A judge, after an 11-1 recommendation of death by a jury.
Date of crime: November 6, 1998
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Harrell Braddy drove his estranged girlfriend to a secluded area near the Everglades and attempted to strangle her to death. Braddy then took the only witness to the event, the woman’s five year old daughter, and dumped her into a swamp known as “Alligator Alley,” hoping that the reptiles would discard of the evidence. At trial a medical examiner testified that the girl was still alive when the animal bit her stomach and head, eventually causing her death. The prosecution demonstrated Braddy’s history of escape from incarceration and violence, including a previous charge for attempted murder. The mother of the little girl awoke shortly after the incident and provided the primary testimony for the case. Defense demonstrated Braddy’s close ties to family and presented the testimony of several of his relatives, each pleading to the court for a sentence of life imprisonment.
Prosecutor(s): Abbe Rifkin
Defense lawyer(s): Terence Lenamon and G.P. Della Fera
Sources: Miami Herald 10/16/2007 (2007 WLNR 20259932); AP Alert – Florida 9/01/2007

Charles Grover Brandt – white, age 38

Sentenced to death in Hillsborough County, Florida
By: A judge after pleading guilty and waiving a jury.
Date of crime: July 1, 2004
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Charles Brandt entered the apartment of a young woman, raped and strangled her to death. Brandt originally attempted to suffocate the woman, but she regained consciousness and attempted to flee her apartment. Brandt then strangled her with an electrical cord, took her clothes and keys, and left her in the bathtub. Police began investigating a day later and came upon Brandt in the hallway, claiming he witnessed a man with long hair and a raincoat fleeing on foot. In fact, Brandt had described himself with the exception of his hair, which he had shaved off after the murder. Brandt later admitted he was returning to the apartment in an attempt to destroy any remaining evidence. A subsequent search of Brandt’s home revealed the woman’s clothes and keys in a trashcan. Brandt pled guilty to the charges and waived a jury trial in an effort to avoid the death penalty. In mitigation, the defense presented evidence that Brandt was abused by his step-father, possessed diminished mental capacity, suffered from a diagnosed sexual obsessive disorder, and was fighting with drug addiction.
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: St. Petersburg Times, 12/01/2007 (2007 WLNR 23763041)

Victor Caraballo – hispanic, age 34

Sentenced to death in Miami-Dade County, Florida
By: A judge, after a 9-3 recommendation of death by a jury.
Date of crime: April 26, 2002
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Victor Caraballo and four other men kidnapped two high school sweethearts who were taking a walk on the beach and took them on a road-trip on Interstate 95. Each of the men took turns raping the woman as the man was beaten while cowering on the floorboards of the vehicle. The men eventually stabbed the male in the stomach and dumped him on the highway where he was able to flag down a passing motorist and contact the police. The woman was taken a short while later and forced to exit the vehicle, pleading for her life. Caraballo watched as another man shot the woman in the back of the head on the side of the highway. Police apprehended all passengers in the vehicle a short while later based on the report instigated by the male victim. Caraballo was the first of the five men to be tried for felony-murder and was convicted based primarily on the testimony of the male victim. The court found that the crime was especially heinous, atrocious, and cruel. In mitigation, the defense offered evidence that Caraballo was mentally ill and had suffered abuse as a child.
Prosecutor(s): Katherine Fernandez Rundle
Defense lawyer(s): Joel Denaro and Gary Rosenbery
Sources: Miami Herald 6/8/2007 (2007 WLNR 10637441); South Florida Sun-Sentinel 6/8/2007 (2007 WLNR 10694698)

John Evander Couey – white, age 46

Sentenced to death in Citrus County, Florida
By: A judge, after a 10-2 recommendation of death by a jury.
Date of crime: February 23, 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: John Couey kidnapped the nine year old daughter of a neighbor, raped her, and buried her alive in his backyard. After a massive three week man-hunt, the girl’s body was discovered in Couey’s backyard. Police later arrested Couey in Georgia and he confessed to the murder. The confession was later suppressed because Couey was denied counsel. The prosecution established its case through DNA, incriminating jailhouse conversations, and discovery of the girl’s fingerprints in Couey’s closet. The judge found the murder to be cold, calculated, and premeditated. Couey is a registered sex-offender and has a prior history including 24 burglaries. Defense presented mitigating evidence which demonstrated that Couey suffers from a personality disorder, had an abusive childhood, and exhibited good behavior in jail. Defense also contended that Couey was mentally retarded and could not be executed, but was rebuffed by the judge.
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: Bradenton Herald 8/25/2007 (2007 WLNR 16567815); South Florida Sun-Sentinel 8/25/2007 (2007 WLNR 16607618)

Paul Durousseau – black, age 28

Sentenced to death in Duvall County, Florida
By: A judge.
Date of crime: July 26, 1999
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Paul Durousseau was convicted of premeditated 1st degree murder, felony-murder, sexual battery, and robbery in a serial killing spree leaving seven dead. Five of the six murder charges were dropped before Durousseau was brought to trial on the rape and slaying of a 24 year old female. The woman was found bound and strangled in her apartment. He also faces another murder charge for the murder of a woman found in Georgia in 1997. The woman was last seen at a club two days prior to the discovery of her body.
Prosecutor(s): Jay Taylor and Mac Heavener
Defense lawyer(s): Ann Finnell and Bill White
Sources: South Florida Sun-Sentinel 11/10/2007 (2007 WLNR 22254652); AP Alert – Florida 6/9/2007

Michael A. Hernandez, Jr. – white, age 23

Sentenced to death in Santa Rosa County, Florida
By: A judge, after an 11-1 recommendation of death by a jury.
Date of crime: November 11, 2004
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Michael Hernandez took the advice of a co-worker and began a search for crack cocaine. In need of money to pay for the drugs, Hernandez and his friend went to the home of an acquaintance owing them $300. When they arrived at the home they were informed by the acquaintance’s 67 year old mother that he was not home, so the two decided to steal the money from the elderly woman instead. After telling the men that she only had $40, Hernandez’s partner returned from the bathroom with a pillow and began to smother the woman. After removing the pillow, the men realized that she was still breathing, so Hernandez took out his pocket knife, snapped her neck and slit her throat. With the additional money that they were able to find throughout the home, Hernandez and his partner spent the rest of the day smoking crack before returning to their homes for the evening. The next day Hernandez’s partner indicated intent to turn himself in due to remorse. Hernandez initially threatened to kill the man, then agreed to turn himself in to the police. The court found four statutory aggravating factors, including: a previous conviction for a violent felony; committing murder during the course of a robbery; murder to avoid lawful arrest; and, the crime was especially heinous, atrocious, and cruel. In mitigation, the defense presented the videotaped testimony of Hernandez’s mother, provided from her jail cell. Her testimony established that she and Hernandez’s father were addicted to drugs, involved in a motorcycle gang, abandoned and abused Hernandez throughout his life, and introduced their son to drugs at an early age.
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: Initial brief on direct appeal;

Michael Jackson – white, age 23

Sentenced to death in Duval County, Florida
By: A judge, after an 11-1 recommendation of death by a jury.
Date of crime: July 8, 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Testimony from accomplices established that Michael Jackson was the mastermind in the kidnapping, robbery, and murder of a Florida couple. The prosecution was able to establish that four individuals kidnapped the couple and forced them to reveal all personal financial information prior to burying them alive. The couple’s bank accounts were then drained over the next few days. Three accomplices testified against Jackson and established that the events were the realization of a well laid master plan developed by Jackson. Two of the confederates also received death recommendations by the jury for their involvements. The fourth individual pled guilty in order to receive a life sentence.
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: AP Alert – Georgia 3/5/2008, AP Alert – Florida 8/29/2007

Ray Jackson – black, age 29

Sentenced to death in Volusia County, Florida
By: A judge, after a 9-3 recommendation of death by a jury.
Date of crime: November 1, 2004
Prosecution’s case/defense response: After a 23 year old exotic dancer stole money and drugs from Ray Jackson, he tied her up in his bathroom and displayed her to various people, supposedly making an example out of her. An accomplice testified that she was then put in Jackson’s car and not seen again for five months. The dancer’s body was found in a shallow grave, decomposed to such an extent that medical examiners were unable to definitively identify the cause of death. The court found that the murder was cold, calculated, and premeditated due to his willingness to display the victim prior to her disappearance, evincing intent that as of that moment Jackson was preparing to end her life. Defense attacked the evidence in the case by demonstrating that medical examiners were unable to establish a cause of death. The court also heard testimony about Jackson’s past, including his attempted suicide at age eight and bouncing between foster homes from then on.
Defense lawyer(s): Gerard Keating
Sources: Orlando Sentinel 6/22/2007 (2007 WLNR 11760164); Daytona News-Journal 5/10/2007 (2007 WLNR 8932272)

Richard Andrew Knight – black, age 21

Sentenced to death in Broward County, Florida
By: A judge, after a unanimous recommendation of death by a jury.
Date of crime: June 28, 2000
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Richard Knight killed a mother and her four year old daughter as they slept in their apartment. Knight was living for free with his cousin and was told that it was time he moved out. Rather than face homelessness, Knight stabbed his cousin’s family to death with four butcher knives, breaking two of the knives in the process. The judge noted the brutality of the offense while sentencing Knight to death. Prosecution also offered Knight’s history of violence and sex offenses. In mitigation, defense offered evidence that Knight was abandoned on the hospital steps as an infant. Knight was sentenced to death on each of the two murders.
Prosecutor(s): Tony Loe
Defense lawyer(s): Sam Halpern and Evan Baron
Sources: South Florida Sun-Sentinel 3/29/2007 (2007 WLNR 5919006); Miami Herald 4/27/2006 (2007 WLNR 7040243)

Herman Lindsey – black, age 21

Sentenced to death in Broward County, Florida
By: A judge, after an 8-to-4 jury recommendation of death.
Date of crime: 4/19/94
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Lindsey robbed a pawn shop and shot the clerk one time in the forehead at close range. Although the crime was committed in 1994, he was not indicted until 2006 for reasons not explained in the sources that were found. Lindsay had a prior armed robbery conviction. The defense presented mitigation evidence of Lindsay’s hard childhood, and evidence that he had many positive character traits. The Florida Supreme Court overturned Lindsey’s conviction on the basis of insufficient evidence in 2009: Lindsey v. State, 14 So.3d 211 (Fl. 2009).
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: Florida Department of Corrections Death Row Roster;; Answer Brief of Appellee State of Florida

Omar Loureiro – hispanic, age 38

Sentenced to death in Broward County, Florida
By: A judge, after an 11-1 recommendation of death by a jury.
Date of crime: January 2, 2001
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Omar Loureiro took a male friend home after a New Year’s party. The prosecution established that after sexual advances by the long-time friend, Loureiro stabbed the man twice in the neck and six times in the face, nearly severing his head. After the murder, Loureiro fled to Nicaragua and evaded arrest for 20 months. Police located him in a Nicaraguan jail, serving a sentence for shooting a woman. Defense claimed that this was an act of self-defense and that the murder was justified given the physical nature of the sexual advances. The prosecution established that this stabbing was too brutal to have been committed in self-defense.
Prosecutor(s): Howard Scheinberg
Defense lawyer(s): Michael Tenzer
Sources: South Florida Sun-Sentinel 8/25/2007 (2007 WLNR 16607678), 3/28/2007 (2007 WLNR 5850283)

Derrick McLean – black, age 27

Sentenced to death in Orange County, Florida
By: A judge, after a 9-3 recommendation of death by a jury.
Date of crime: November 24, 2007
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Derrick McLean entered the home of a known dealer seeking to purchase drugs. The sixteen year old son of the dealer was the only person home and informed McLean that there were no drugs. McLean shot the teen several times and proceeded to search the house for marijuana. Alerted by the commotion, a neighbor called the police and then went next door to check on the cause of the noise. McLean exited the house with a pillowcase full of marijuana and shot the neighbor in the back prior to fleeing the scene. The neighbor survived and testified against McLean.
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: Orlando Sentinel 12/1/2007 (2007 WLNR 23758388)

Norman Blake McKenzie – white, age 42

Sentenced to death in St. John’s County, Florida
By: A judge.
Date of crime: October 4, 2006
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Norman McKenzie went on a week-long crime spree which began with the murder of two male acquaintances in their trailer park home. After the murder, McKenzie stole multiple cars over the course of a week in an attempt to evade police. Although none of the occupants of the stolen vehicles were killed during McKenzie’s flight, several were threatened with a gun. One carjacking victim was barely able to get her three year old son out of the vehicle prior to McKenzie disappearing with the car. Police linked McKenzie to the murders via evidence located in a gold Kia parked outside of the victims’ home and through relinquishment of one victim’s wallet by McKenzie after his arrest.
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: Orlando Sentinel 10/7/2006 (2006 WLNR 17386086); St. Petersburg Times 10/7/2006 (2006 WLNR 17420514)

Blaine Ross – white, age 21

Sentenced to death in Manatee County, Florida
By: A judge following an 8-4 recommendation from a jury.
Date of crime: January 7, 2004
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Ross was convicted of murdering his parents Richard and Kathleen Ross with a baseball bat in the family’s home while they slept. After the slayings, Ross took his mother’s bank card and attempted to stage a burglary at the family’s home. The defense brought forth the mitigating factors of Ross’s age at the time of the murders along with his insignificant criminal history and his cooperation with the authorities. The defense argued that years of drug abuse made Ross unable to think clearly and behave appropriately. The defense also brought forth an expert who testified that Ross suffered from a pre-schizophrenia mental condition. The prosecution countered by presenting the aggravating factors on the manner of the victims’ deaths and the fact that Ross committed the crime for financial gain. The judge noted that there was no convincing evidence that Ross suffered from a debilitating mental illness.
Prosecutor(s): Art Brown
Defense lawyer(s): Carolyn Schlemmer
Sources: Brandenton Herald 11/16/07 2007 WLNR 22732558; Sarasota Herald Tribune 11/17/07 2007 WLNR 22859189

Nelson Serrano – white, age 59

Sentenced to death in Polk County, Florida
By: A judge following a 9-3 recommendation from a jury.
Date of crime: December 3, 1997
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Serrano was convicted of killing four people including 69 year old George Gonslaves, 35 year old Frank Dosso, 28 year old Diane Patisso, and 26 year old George Patisso inside the Erie Manufacturing building. George Gonslaves and George Patisso were business associates of Serrano and fired Serrano months prior to the murders over a business dispute. The prosecution stated that Serrano deliberately set out to kill Gonslaves and that the others may have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Serrano’s defense argued that there was no physical evidence linking Serrano to the slayings and Serrano has maintained his innocence. The prosecution countered that Serrano was the mastermind of an elaborate plot to kill Gonslaves, pointing to Serrano leaving an Atlanta business trip and flying to Orlando under an assumed name to commit the slayings, then flying back to Atlanta. The prosecution argued that these actions were cold, calculated, and premeditated. The defense argued that Serrano had a clean criminal record until the killings and brought forth more than 20 character witnesses to testify that he was a caring, generous family man.
Prosecutor(s): John Aguero, Phil Wallace
Defense lawyer(s): Cheney Mason and Bob Norgard
Sources: South Florida Sun-Sentinel 6/27/07 2007 WLNR 12102077; Tampa Tribune 6/27/07 2007 WLNR 12383912;

Jason Simpson – white, age 35

Sentenced to death in Duval County, Florida
By: A judge after an 8-4 recommendation for death by the jury for the killing of Crook and 9-3 for the killing of Kimbler.
Date of crime: July, 1999
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Simpson was convicted of the murders of 38 year old Archie Crook Sr. and 29 year old Kimberli Kimbler. Simpson used an axe to kill Crook and his girlfriend Kimbler in their Jacksonville home while Kimbler was 7 months pregnant. The defense presented evidence of Simpson’s family history of drug addiction, troubled upbringing, and wanted to call Simpson’s mother to the stand but Simpson would not allow it. The prosecution countered that the murders were calculated and done in such a heinous manner that the death penalty was warranted.
Prosecutor(s): Mark Caliel
Defense lawyer(s): Charles Fletcher
Sources: AP Alert-Florida 3/30/07 15:36:58;

Mark Twilegar – white, age 38

Sentenced to death in Lee County, Florida
By: A judge.
Date of crime: August, 2002
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Twilegar was convicted of killing Lee County Attorney David Thomas and burying Thomas alive in Twilegar’s backyard. Prosecutors claimed that Twilegar took $25,000 dollars from Thomas’ bank account. During the sentencing phase Twilegar read a statement that he could not feel remorse for something he did not do, hence maintaining his innocence.
Prosecutor(s): Brenda Wade, Claudia Stewart
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: NBC 2 WBBH-Fl 8/15/07 2007 WLNR 15842529,

Alwin Tumblin – black, age 23

Sentenced to death in St. Lucie County, Florida
By: A judge after a unanimous recommendation from the jury.
Date of crime: May 24, 2004
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Tumblin was convicted of the first degree murder of Jimmy Johns. Tumblin shot Johns in the back of the head while in Johns’ auto shop. The prosecution brought forth four aggravating factors that they stated justified the execution. These included Tumblin’s previous conviction for felony violence, the fact that Mr. Johns’ murder occurred during Tumblin’s attempt at committing a separate felony, Tumblin committed the murder in order to gain money, and the murder was done in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner.
Prosecutor(s): Lynn Park
Defense lawyer(s): Rusty Atkins
Sources: Stuart News 6/19/07 2007 WLNR 11709133;