Vahtiece Kirkman – black, age 27
Sentenced to death in Brevard County, Florida
By: judge with a jury recommendation of 10 to 2 for death
Date of crime: 2006
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Kirkman kidnapped, beat, and killed Darice Knowles when he discovered that she went on a date with a Cocoa police officer because Kirkman feared she would tell the police about his connections to another killing. Knowles body was found in 2010, 4 years after she went missing. Her body was encased in concrete.
Sources: Florida Today 4/13/16 (2016 WLNR 11195258), Florida Today 4/12/16 (2016 WLNR 11085551)
Eriese Tisdale – black, age 25
Sentenced to death in St. Lucie County, Florida
By: judge with a jury recommendation of 9 to 3
Date of crime: 2/28/13
Prosecution’s case/defense response: During a traffic stop, Tisdale took a Glock handgun and fired seven times at Sgt. Gary Morales, hitting him in the head, neck, and arm. During trail, Tisdale delivered a speech prior to the judge handing down the sentence, where he ranted about police run-ins he had experienced during his life. Tisdale stated that he was sorry for the Morales family pain, but never apologized for the actual killing.
Sources: Treasure Coast Newspapers 4/30/16 (2016 WLNR 13121878)
Craig Wall – white, age 33
Sentenced to death in Pinellas County, Florida
By: judge with unknown jury recommendation
Date of crime: 2/17/10
Prosecution’s case/defense response: In 2008, Wall met Laura Taft, 29 years old, after getting out of prison for serving a 14-year sentence. The two had a child, Craig Wall Jr., who was born December 30, 2009. The baby went into cardiac arrest and died at the hospital at 5 weeks old. Wall was at home with the baby at the time and the cause of death was aggravated child abuse. The child had broken ribs and a head injury that occurred about a week prior to the death and head injuries right before death. On February 14, 2010, Wall was arrested for violating a domestic violence injunction filed by Taft. While Wall was a suspect in the baby’s death, the fact did not come up in the trial. After he got out of jail in February 2010, he broke a glass sliding door in Taft’s apartment and entered the apartment with a large knife and stabbed her to death. Wall pleaded guilty to killing Taft and no contest to killing their baby claiming that he did not intend to harm his son. He also claimed that he wanted to be sentenced to death. Normally, the defense attorneys present evidence to dissuade the sentence of death, but Wall declined to present any evidence so the judge assigned an independent counsel to present mitigating evidence on Wall’s behalf. Wall’s childhood trauma was discussed including his mother mistreating him and attending a school that is under scrutiny for abuse of its students.
Sources: Tampa Bay Times 6/4/16 (2016 WLNR 17383469), Tampa Tribune 2/28/15 (2015 WLNR 6050575)