The federal appeals court in Atlanta has declined to overturn lower court decisions against a new sentencing hearing for Patrick Charles Hannon, condemned to die for cutting a man's throat and fatally shooting another in Tampa 18 years ago.
Thursday's opinion by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Hannon had failed to show ineffective assistance of counsel, the legal basis of his appeal. The defense strategy was to concentrate on Hannon's claim that he was not present at the scene of the Jan. 10, 1991, killings of Brandon Snider and his roommate, Robert Carter.
Snider, 27, and Carter, 28, were found in their apartment near the University of South Florida. Carter had been shot six times. Snider had been stabbed 14 times, and his throat was slit.
Hannon and Ronald Ivan Richardson, both slaughterhouse workers, were each charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Hannon was convicted in 1991 and is on death row.
27-Year-Sentence For Killing Boss
TAMPA - A Pinellas County man was sentenced to 27 years in prison after pleading guilty Friday to killing his boss and setting him and his vehicle on fire.
Jose Valdes, 32, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and arson charges in the death of Rafael "John" Garcia on July 31, 2006.
After the sentencing, Garcia's widow read a letter she wrote to Valdes.
"There aren't sufficient words in the dictionary that can express how much I despise you," Carmen Naboa told the defendant. "You are a murderer that robbed me of my peace; you robbed me of my life."
By accepting the plea, Valdes avoided a trial that was to begin Monday and could have resulted in the death penalty.
Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner said Garcia met Valdes at a St. Petersburg office to pay him. Valdes worked for Garcia's AA Cleaning Concepts Inc.
There was a dispute over money, Pruner said. Garcia was killed by a blow to the head.
Pruner said Valdes loaded Garcia's body into Garcia's car, then drove to a parking lot, where he doused the body and car with gasoline and ignited them.
Taped Beating Draws 15 Jail Days
BARTOW - Brittini Hardcastle, one of five girls charged in a 2008 videotaped beating of a Polk County teen, was sentenced to 15 days in jail Friday.
Hardcastle, 17, had pleaded guilty to felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor battery Jan 29 for her role in the March 30, 2008, attack on Victoria Lindsay. The five girls recorded the attack and planned to post the video on YouTube, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.
The judge said Hardcastle would get credit for time already served; it was unclear how many days that left. She also was sentenced to three years of probation.
April Cooper, 14, Kayla Hassell, 15, and Brittany Mayes, 17, were previously sentenced to one year of probation. The organizer of the attack, Mercades Nichols, 17, was sentenced to three years of probation.
A staff report