DPIC’s page mentioning Hurst v. Florida, and links come charts the the instances that have been decided and also cases that are still pending.

You are watching: Florida serial killers on death row

History the the fatality Penalty

Prior come 1923, executions in Florida were carried out through the county, rather than the state. Florida readjusted execution techniques from hanging come electrocution, as soon as it put executions under state control.


1827 – first known execution in Florida, Benjamin Donica hung because that murder.

1923 – A bill locations all executions in Florida under state (rather 보다 local) jurisdiction, and substitutes hanging because that the electric chair.

1972 – The supreme Court strikes down the fatality penalty in Furman v. Georgia. Florida ultimately passes a brand-new capital penalty statute.

1976 – The supreme Court reinstates the fatality penalty when it upholds Georgia’s statute in Gregg v. Georgia. In Proffitt v. Florida, the Court also upholds the Florida statute.

1979 – Florida is the very first state to carry out a non-voluntary execution post-Gregg as soon as it executes john Spenkelink.

1990s – Florida botches the electric chair executions of Jesse Tafero, Pedro Medina, and Allen Lee Davis and subsequently starts using lethal injection together its execution method.

2002 – Aileen Wuornos, dubbed the very first female serial killer by the media, is executed.

2016 – Florida statutorily abolishes justice override, the procedure by which trial judges were permitted to impose death sentences regardless of an advisory jury’s recommendation for life.

2017 – Florida statutorily abolishes non-unanimous jury referrals for death and requires that the sentencing jury unanimously recommend a fatality sentence before the trial judge may impose a fatality sentence.

Famous Cases

Aileen Wuornos to be executed ~ above October 9, 2002 for the killing of Richard Mallory, yet she had likewise received death sentences for 5 other murders, and also confessed come a seventh murder, though she wasn’t tried for it. Her situation garnered considerable media attention, and she to be labeled America’s an initial female serial killer. Wuornos experienced from severe mental illness, but the state that Florida found her proficient to waive her remaining appeals and also be executed. Wuornos’ instance was the motivation for the Oscar-winning movie “Monster.”

Notable Exonerations

Florida has had 30 exonerations from fatality row, more than any kind of other state. You have the right to read around all that Florida’s exonerations top top DPIC’s Innocence page.

The first exoneration in the United says after Furman v. Georgia was David Keaton. On the basis of failure identification and coerced confessions, Keaton to be sentenced to death for murdering an turn off duty deputy sheriff during a robbery. The State can be fried Court reversed the conviction and granted Keaton a brand-new trial because of newly found evidence. Charges were dropped and also he was released ~ the actual killer was identified and also convicted.

Delbert Tibbs, a previous Theology student, was convicted in 1974 because that a murder of terry Milloy and also the rape the Milloy’s travel companion, Cynthia Nadeau. Nadeau picked Tibbs out of a lineup and also testified versus him, also though the did not match her original summary of the perpetrator. The Florida supreme Court notified a retrial, saying that the victim to be an unreliable witness. Prosecutors reduce the charges versus Tibbs and he to be released in 1982.

Joseph environment-friendly Brown was sentenced to fatality in 1974 because that the killing of Earlene Treva Barksdale. The case hinged ~ above the testimony the Ronald Floyd, who later admitted he had lied. Jurors never heard testimony native an FBI ballistics skilled who claimed a gun attached to Brown could not have fired the cartridge that eliminated Barksdale. In 1983, Brown came within 15 hrs of execution before a Florida judge issued a stay, yet waited two and a half more years before his conviction to be overturned, and second year prior to charges to be dropped.

In 1982, Juan Ramos was convicted of the murder of one acquaintance. No physics evidence attached Ramos come the crime, yet later-discredited evidence from a scent-tracking dog persuaded the jury to convict him. A judge overruled the jury’s recommendation for a life sentence and sentenced Ramos come death. In 1985, the television news display 20/20 exposed the unreliability that scent-tracking evidence. The following year, the Florida supreme Court i rejected Ramos’ conviction, saying that canine scent-tracking was totally untested. In ~ a retrial in 1987, Ramos to be acquitted.

Frank Lee blacksmith spent 15 year on death row prior to he passed away of cancer in 2000. Simply months after Smith’s death, DNA trial and error cleared that of the crime for which he had actually been convicted in 1985. The sole witness in the situation had recanted she testimony in 1989, identify Eddie Lee Mosely, who was later implicated through DNA testing.

On October 12, 2015, the Florida room of correction released Derral Hodgkins indigenous custody after ~ the Florida supreme Court acquitted Hodges of all charges in the stabbing fatality of his previous girlfriend. The trial referee had enforced a fatality sentence because that the conviction adhering to a 7-5 poll by the jury to recommend death. No eyewitnesses inserted Hodgkins in the vicinity in ~ or about the time of the murder and the evidence versus him was totally circumstantial.

With newly discovered confessions and DNA proof pointing to the prosecution’s chef witness together the actual killer, Seminole County, Florida prosecutors dropped all charges against Honduran national Clemente javier Aguirre in 2018. Aguirre was convicted and sentenced to fatality in 2006 for the killing of two neighbors. He steadfastly preserved his innocence, saying he had uncovered the females after they had been killed. The did not report the murders to authorities, that said, due to the fact that he was an undocumented immigrant and feared deportation. ~ above October 27, 2016, the Florida supreme Court unanimously vacated Aguirre’s conviction and also granted the a brand-new trial.

Clifford Williams, Jr. was exonerated in 2019, forty-two year after he and also his nephew to be wrongfully judge of murder and he was sentenced come death. Submitting a report from its Conviction integrity Unit that uncovered “no credible proof of guilt and also … credible proof of innocence,” Duval ar prosecutors inquiry a Jacksonville psychological court to dismiss every charges against Williams, 76 year old, and his nephew, Nathan Myers, 61.

Notable Commutations/Clemencies

Governor Bob Graham granted 6 clemencies throughout his term together governor. No other Florida governor because 1976 has actually granted clemency come a fatality row inmate. Learie Leo Alford and Jesse Rutledge obtained clemency native Graham due to their possible innocence.

Milestones in Abolition/Reinstatement

Florida was the very first state to reintroduce the death penalty after Furman v. Georgia struck down all existing fatality penalty laws.

Other exciting Facts

The U.S. Supreme Court has actually ruled Florida’s fatality penalty practices unconstitutional many times, including:

In Enmund v. Florida, in 1982, the Court ruled the Florida violated the Eighth Amendment once it test to use the fatality penalty come defendants who were boy participants in a crime that brought about a murder, however who did not themselves kill, attempt to kill, or intended to kill the victim.In Hitchcock v. Dugger, in 1987, the Court—in a unanimous opinion written by justice Antonin Scalia—ruled Florida’s death penalty statute unconstitutional since it did not allow the advisory jury or the sentencing judge to think about reasons the defendant offered to preventive his life uneven those reasons were noted among the mitigating components that the legislative branch had set out in the state’s death penalty statute.In Hall v. Florida, in 2014, the Court ruled the Florida had actually unconstitutionally impaired the enforcement that the Eighth modification prohibition against subjecting persons through intellectual disability to the fatality penalty by using a difficult IQ-cutoff score that 70 to refuse death-row prisoners’ intellectual special needs claims.In Hurst v. Florida, in 2016, the Court ruled the Florida’s sentencing statute violated the sixth Amendment best to a jury trial due to the fact that it compelled that a judge, quite than a jury, make findings the fact regarding whether the prosecution had actually proven the a defendant is default to challenge the fatality penalty.

Until 2016, Florida was among three states that permitted trial judges to impose the fatality penalty based upon a jury’s non-unanimous reference for death. In Hurst v. State, the Florida can be fried Court ruled that the exercise violated the state’s constitution, and also the Florida legislature, in march 2017, embraced a brand-new sentencing law requiring a unanimous jury reference for death prior to the judge can impose a death sentence.

Florida enables inmates to select whether they will be executed by electrocution or lethal injection.

The youngest inmates executed in Florida were both 16 year old.

See more: Enhanced Fujita Scale Vs Enhanced Fujita Scale (Ef Scale), The Enhanced Fujita Scale (Ef Scale)

Willie Clay to be executed on December 29, 1941 and James Davis was executed on October 9, 1944.