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Raymond Curtis Bright - Florida Death Row
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Thread: Raymond Curtis Bright - Florida Death Row

  1. #1
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    Raymond Curtis Bright - Florida Death Row




    Summary of Offense:

    Bright was convicted in August 2009 of murdering 16-year-old Randall Brown and 20-year-old Derrick King III. Jurors had recommended a death sentence. Circuit Judge Charles Arnold agreed, calling the murders brutal and merciless. Authorities said Bright used a hammer to bludgeon the victims to death in his home. One witness said Bright and King did drugs together earlier the night of the murders.

    Bright was sentenced to death in Duval County on November 19, 2009.

  2. #2
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    August 27, 2009

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Raymond Bright was convicted Wednesday of two counts of first-degree murder in last year's beating deaths of 20-year-old Derrick King and 16-year-old Randall Brown.

    Prosecutors believe the two victims were beaten to death with a hammer at Bright's home on Sibbald Road in northwest Jacksonville in February 2008.

    Police said they found Bright hiding in a closet of a former girlfriend's house nearby.

    Bright, 55, an ex-Marine, claimed he acted in self-defense. The prosecution said the evidence showed the victims were attacked while they slept.

    The penalty phase is set for next Tuesday and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

    http://www.news4jax.com/news/20583901/detail.html

    Update:

    The grandmother of a Jacksonville man bludgeoned to death with a hammer last year is satisfied with the death sentence his murderer received Thursday 11/19/09.

    She just wishes the killer would explain why he did it.

    Raymond Curtis Bright, a 55-year-old former Marine, was sentenced to death for murdering Randall Brown, 16, and Derrick King III, 20, in his home. Under Florida law, an appeal is automatic.

    Circuit Judge Charles Arnold called the murders brutal and merciless and cited their extreme cruelty. Autopsies show King had 58 injuries all over his body and Brown had 14 to the head and neck.

    “The scales of life vs. death for the murders of Derrick King and Randall Brown tilt unquestionably to the side of death,” Arnold said.

    Bright was convicted in August and jurors recommended death by an 8-4 vote in each case.

    Eartha Jaudon, King’s grandmother, said Bright got what he deserved. She praised prosecutors, jurors and the judge.

    “I’m satisfied, and I am thankful for what they did,” she said. “I just wish he would tell why.”

    Brown’s family couldn’t be reached.

    As he did during his trial, Bright remained stoic throughout sentencing. His attorney, Richard Kuritz, said Bright was disappointed, but respectful of the system.

    Kuritz argued at trial that Bright acted in self-defense against the victims, both guests in his home.

    But prosecutors, with no motive, relied on physical evidence they said showed the victims were attacked in their sleep. There was evidence Bright did drugs with at least one of the victims the night of the murders.

    Kuritz said he was hopeful this would be one of the rare occasions a judge overrode a jury’s death recommendation because of Bright’s decorated 10-year military career and his constant search for treatment to overcome drug dependency.

    But Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda decried the brutality of the murders, and Arnold agreed. The judge said he might have been convinced of the appropriateness of a life sentence if the murders hadn’t been so heinous and cruel.

    http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/c...hammer_murders

  3. #3
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    RAYMOND BRIGHT v THE STATE OF FLORIDA

    In today's opinions, the Florida Supreme Court AFFIRMED Bright's conviction and sentence of death.

  4. #4
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    On October 1, 2012, the US Supreme Court denied Bright's certiorari petition.

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.a...es/12-5151.htm

  5. #5
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    He looks like Giancarlo Esposito (Gustavo „Gus“ Fring/Breaking Bad).
    No murder can be so cruel that there are not still useful imbeciles who do gloss over the murderer and apologize.

  6. #6
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    Jacksonville man convicted of hammer killings gets off Death Row over allegations of poor defense work

    Raymond Bright's case is likely headed to Florida Supreme Court


    By Larry Hannan
    The Florida Times-Union

    A Jacksonville man is getting off Death Row after a judge ruled the death-penalty phase in his original trial was marred by ineffective work by his trial lawyers.

    Senior Circuit Judge Charles Arnold ruled Raymond Curtis Bright, 60, should get a new penalty phase to determine if he belongs on Death Row. But the judge denied a motion from Bright’s lawyers to throw out his two first-degree murder convictions for bludgeoning Randall Brown, 16, and Derrick King III, 20, to death with a hammer.

    “We’re grateful that the death sentence was set aside,” said Rick Sichta, Bright’s attorney. “But we’re disappointed that the conviction wasn’t thrown out as well.”

    Sichta called the ruling bittersweet.

    Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda also expressed disappointment at the ruling and said he thought Bright’s original trial lawyers, Richard Kuritz and James Nolan, did a good job with what they had.

    “The evidence was overwhelming to the defendant’s guilt,” de la Rionda said. “He beat two people to death with a hammer and claimed self-defense.”

    Arnold’s ruling is likely to create a situation where both sides appeal his decision to the Florida Supreme Court. Prosecutors will likely appeal Arnold’s ruling setting aside the death penalty while lawyers for Bright will appeal his decision denying a new trial.

    Bright will remain in prison while the case goes to the Supreme Court.

    De la Rionda said if Arnold’s original ruling is upheld by the Supreme Court, they will seek to put him on Death Row again.

    That would involve having another jury hear the case and make a recommendation to Arnold on whether Bright should get life in prison without parole or death. Arnold would make the final decision, but judges in Florida almost never put someone on Death Row when a jury recommends life.

    If the Supreme Court throws out the verdict along with the death sentence, they will try him again for first-degree murder and will seek the death penalty again, de la Rionda said.

    Bright was arrested in 2008 after the bodies of Brown and King were found in Bright’s home. He said he was attacked by the two men in the early morning hours. He wrestled a gun away from Brown and then killed both men in self-defense, he said.

    Prosecutors said Bright killed the two men while they were sleeping on a couch and recliner.

    Defense attorneys said Brown and King had moved into Bright’s house and were selling drugs, and Bright, who was addicted to cocaine, wanted them out so he could attempt to get clean.

    A jury convicted Bright and recommended the death penalty by an 8-4 vote. Arnold sentenced him to death in November 2009, and the conviction and sentence was upheld by the Florida Supreme Court.

    Sichta then went back to Circuit Court and asked for a new trial by arguing that Kuritz and Nolan did an insufficient job of representing Bright during his murder trial. Arnold said their performance was acceptable during the murder trial, but not during the penalty phase.

    During a hearing to determine whether Bright would get a new trial, Kuritz testified that he was responsible for handling the trial and Nolan was going to handle the penalty phase. But Kuritz said when the penalty phase began, he realized that Nolan was not as prepared as he’d said he was, and he tried to “take over” the penalty phase.

    Kuritz said he was surprised no family members of Bright had been interviewed and was also unhappy that a detailed psychological profile of Bright hadn’t been done. He was also unhappy that more investigation wasn’t done into Bright’s history of mental illness and substance abuse.

    Nolan died in 2012. De la Rionda said Nolan’s death made it more difficult to argue that Bright received a competent defense because most of the criticisms were focused on Nolan, and he couldn’t defend himself.

    Kuritz declined comment Friday.

    In his ruling Arnold said the failure to investigate and present mitigation to the jury was enough to grant Bright a new penalty phase because there’s reason to believe that Bright’s sentence might have been different if more evidence had been submitted.

    Sichta argued that similar mistakes during the trial justified throwing the verdict out, but Arnold dismissed those suggestions and said that Kuritz and Nolan made decisions during the actual trial that were based on trial strategy, and not a failure to perform their responsibilities.

    http://members.jacksonville.com/news...death-row-over

  7. #7
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    Death-penalty case for Jacksonville hammer killings goes to Florida Supreme Court

    By Larry Hannan
    The Florida Times-Union

    The Jacksonville death-penalty case of Raymond Bright will be going to the Florida Supreme Court in February with both sides asking justices to reverse a portion of the ruling of Senior Circuit Judge Charles Arnold.

    Arnold upheld Bright’s conviction for bludgeoning Randall Brown, 16, and Derrick King III, 20, with a hammer in 2008. But Arnold threw out Bright’s death sentence, finding that his trial lawyers were incompetent in defending him during the penalty phase.

    Prosecutors will argue that Arnold made a mistake throwing out the sentence while defense attorneys will argue he was wrong to uphold the conviction. Lawyers for both sides will also have to defend the portion of Arnold’s ruling that they like.

    Bright was arrested in 2008 after the bodies of Brown and King were found in Bright’s home. He said he was attacked by the two men in the early morning hours. He wrestled a gun away from Brown and then killed both men in self-defense, he said.

    Prosecutors said Bright killed the two men while they were sleeping on a couch and recliner. A jury convicted Bright and recommended the death penalty by an 8-4 vote. Arnold sentenced him to death in November 2009.

    But Arnold threw out the sentence last year, citing concerns about the performance of trial attorneys Richard Kuritz and James Nolan, particularly about not looking into Bright’s history of mental health and substance abuse.

    But in court filings, lawyers with the Florida Attorney General’s Office argued that Bright’s lawyers had a strategy that did not involve focusing on mental health or substance abuse. They also argue that no defense would have kept Bright off Death Row because of the brutality of the crime.

    Nolan, who supervised the penalty phase of the defense, died in 2012. Prosecutors say Arnold would have been less likely to throw Bright’s death sentence out if Nolan had been alive to explain his legal strategy, which involved “humanizing” his client and asking the jury to show mercy.

    In response Bright’s appellate attorney, Richard Sichta, says Nolan made serious mistakes including the mental health concerns.

    It is reasonable to believe the jury might have recommended life instead of death if they’d known more about Bright’s history of being abused, being addicted to drugs and his serious mental health issues, Sichta said.

    Kuritz has said when the penalty phase began, he realized that Nolan was not as prepared as he’d said he was, and he tried to “take over” the penalty phase.

    Kuritz said he was surprised no family members of Bright had been interviewed and was also unhappy that a detailed psychological profile hadn’t been done.

    Sichta also said Bright acted in self-defense and urged the Supreme Court to throw out the conviction along with upholding the decision to throw out the death sentence.

    Bright has repeatedly maintained that Brown and King were violent gang members who had taken over his home using it to sell drugs and had threatened to chop him into little pieces, Sichta said.

    The evidence at the scene also shows that Bright was acting in self-defense after Brown and King accused him of stealing drugs and were pointing guns at him when he fought both men, Sichta said.

    Prosecutors had argued that Bright attacked the two men while they were sleeping. In court filings Assistant Attorney General Patrick Delaney said Bright’s claims of self-defense were not found to be credible by Arnold or the jurors during his trial.

    The office of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi handles death-penalty appeals.

    State Attorney Angela Corey’s office has previously said it will seek to put Bright back on Death Row if the Supreme Court upholds Arnold’s ruling throwing out his death sentence. If justices throw out the conviction, it will retry him and seek the death penalty again.

    Bright technically remains on Death Row while Arnold’s ruling is appealed by both sides. Oral arguments in the case will be Feb. 2.

    http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2...lorida-supreme

  8. #8
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    Justices weigh Jacksonville man's appeal in killing pair

    TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Supreme Court heard the appeal Tuesday of Jacksonville Death Row inmate Raymond Bright, charged with killing two men in his home eight years ago.

    Bright was convicted and sentenced to death for bludgeoning Randall Brown, 16, and Derrick King III, 20, with a hammer.

    Senior Judge Charles Arnold later threw out Bright’s death sentence after finding his trial lawyers did an incompetent job representing him during the penalty phase, but upheld his murder conviction.

    The death sentence was thrown out because Bright’s trial lawyers did not investigate his mental-health history and childhood.

    In his ruling, Arnold said the failure to investigate and present mitigation to the jury was enough to grant a new penalty phase because there’s reason to believe Bright’s sentence might have been different if more evidence had been submitted.

    Prosecutors asked the Supreme Court to reinstate Bright’s death-penalty sentence and uphold his conviction, while defense lawyers asked justices to uphold Arnold’s decision throwing out the sentence and overrule his decision upholding the conviction.

    Assistant Attorney General Patrick Delaney argued Bright’s trial lawyers had a strategy to present him as a “good guy” and chose not to delve into his past.

    But Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente said the trial lawyers never got any information on Bright’s past.

    “You get the records and then you decide on a strategy,” Pariente said.

    Defense attorney Rick Sichta said his client’s conviction should also be thrown out because of the incompetence of the trial attorneys.

    There was a valid argument that Bright acted in self-defense, and the trial lawyers never employed crime-scene reconstruction experts and others who could have backed up that claim.

    But Justice Charles Canady expressed doubt, pointing out that police and autopsy reports showed both men had been savagely beaten, not the work of someone acting in self-defense.

    Bright was arrested in 2008 after the bodies of Brown and King were found in his home. He said he was attacked by the two men in the early morning hours. He wrestled a gun away from Brown and then killed both men in self-defense, he said.

    Prosecutors said Bright killed the two men while they were sleeping on a couch and recliner.

    Defense attorneys said Brown and King had moved into Bright’s house and were selling drugs, and Bright, who was addicted to cocaine, wanted them out so he could attempt to get clean.

    Prosecutors with the office of State Attorney Angela Corey have said they will seek to put Bright back on Death Row if justices deny the death-penalty appeal, and if his conviction is thrown out they will retry him and seek to put him back on Death Row.

    Justices did not say when they would issue their rulings.

    http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2...l-killing-pair

  9. #9
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    Jacksonville man convicted of murdering 2 with hammer gets off Death Row

    A Jacksonville man charged with killing two men with a hammer in his home eight years ago is now off Death Row after the Florida Supreme Court agreed Thursday with a trial judge who threw out his death sentence but upheld his first-degree murder conviction.

    The Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the decision of Senior Circuit Judge Charles Arnold to throw out the death sentence of Raymond Bright, now 62.

    Bright bludgeoned Randall Brown, 16, and Derrick King III, 20, in his Sibbald Road home in 2008.

    The death sentence was thrown out because Bright’s trial lawyers did not investigate his mental-health history and childhood.

    In his ruling, Arnold said the failure to investigate and present mitigation to the jury by trial attorneys Richard Kuritz and James Nolan was enough to grant a new penalty phase because there’s reason to believe Bright’s sentence might have been different if more evidence had been submitted.

    Defense attorneys said Brown and King moved into Bright’s house and were selling drugs, and Bright wanted them out. Bright said he killed them in self-defense when they attacked him. Prosecutors said Bright killed them while they were sleeping.

    Arnold threw out the death sentence after finding his trial lawyers did an incompetent job representing him during the penalty phase but upheld his murder conviction after finding that the same lawyers did a competent job during trial.

    The office of State Attorney Angela Corey said it will seek to put him back on Death Row.

    “They were horrific murders,” said Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda. “And the brutality of the crime justifies the death penalty.”

    Assistant Attorney General Patrick Delaney argued Bright’s trial lawyers had a strategy to present him as a “good guy” and chose not to delve into his past.

    During oral arguments Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente said the trial lawyers never got any information on Bright’s past.

    “You get the records and then you decide on a strategy,” Pariente said.

    Bright’s attorney, Rick Sichta, said there was a valid argument that Bright acted in self-defense, and the trial lawyers never employed crime-scene reconstruction experts or others who could have backed it up.

    But the Supreme Court rejected that argument, finding that any mistakes made by the defense team didn’t rise to a level that justified throwing out the conviction.

    Sichta said Thursday’s ruling was bittersweet.

    “I continue to think I was representing an innocent man who was acting in self-defense,” Sichta said. “But he never deserved the death penalty.”

    Nolan, who supervised the penalty phase of the defense, died in 2012. De la Rionda said that made it harder for prosecutors to argue the defense did a good job because Nolan wasn’t there to explain his strategy.

    Kuritz has said when the penalty phase began, he realized Nolan was not as prepared as he’d said he was, and he tried to “take over” the penalty phase. He said he was surprised no Bright family members were interviewed and was also unhappy that a detailed psychological profile hadn’t been done.

    Bright will remain in jail until he has his sentencing hearing. Under Florida law, the only two options for his sentence are Death Row or life without the possibility of parole.

    http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2...gets-death-row

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by The World's End View Post
    Jacksonville man convicted of murdering 2 with hammer gets off Death Row
    The state appealed the postconviction court's order and lost the appeal. The case was remanded to the trial court for a new penalty phase proceeding. That is far from getting off death row. That article headline is misleading.

    STATE OF FLORIDA v RAYMOND BRIGHT
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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