Monday, July 23, 2007

Sentencing in Orme murder trial expected today

Staff Report

Roderick Michael Orme is to be sentenced this afternoon, and the death penalty is what he's facing.

Eleven jurors told Circuit Judge Judy Pittman on Thursday, May 17, that Roderick Orme deserved death for a 1992 murder.

That was far more decisive than Orme’s first jury in 1993 that voted 7-5 for the death penalty.

Victim impact statements and matters of law still must be addressed before Orme can be sentenced. It is unlikely that Pittman would go against the jury’s recommendation.

Orme, 45, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to die in 1993 for the murder, rape and robbery of Lisa Redd, a Bay Medical Center nurse.

Redd’s body was found on a Lee’s Motel room floor on March 4, 1992. Investigators said Orme, Redd’s former boyfriend, lured her to the motel, where he raped and strangled her because she had broken up with him.

In February 2005, the Florida Supreme Court overturned Orme’s sentence, but upheld his conviction, and returned him to Bay County for a new penalty trial. Justices decided that Orme’s original jury should have heard more about his bipolar disorder, which could have swayed the close vote.

Jury selection was complicated by the fact that Orme would be eligible for parole in 2017 if he received a life sentence. Parole, which has since been eliminated, was still an element of the sentencing structure in 1992 and Orme would have been sentenced under the guidelines in place at the time of the murder.

Autopsy photos of bruises to Redd’s head, chin, neck, chest, arms and hands were shown in court Monday, reducing a female juror to tears.

Redd’s body was found when Orme appeared at a drug rehabilitation center apparently suffering from an overdose. He scribbled “Lee’s Motel Rm 15” on a scrap of paper and police went to the room.

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