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    Jonathan Huey Lawrence - Florida Death Row


    Jennifer Robinson, 18




    Summary of Offense:

    On March 24, 2000, Jonathan Huey Lawrence was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Jennifer Robinson, conspiracy to commit the murder, providing alcoholic beverages to a minor and abuse of a human corpse. On May 7, 1998, Lawrence and his friend, Jeremiah Martel Rodgers, picked up 18-year-old Jennifer Robinson from her mother’s home. They drove to a secluded area in the woods where the three consumed alcoholic beverages. Robinson had sex with Lawrence and then Rodgers while under the influence of the alcoholic beverages provided by the two men.

    After having sex with both men, Robinson was shot in the back of the head by Rodgers with a Lorcin .380 handgun. Robinson died minutes later. Lawrence and Rodgers loaded the body into Lawrence’s truck and drove deeper into the woods. After finding a stopping place, Lawrence scored Robinson’s calf and removed her muscle. Rodgers photographed Lawrence’s procedure with a Polaroid camera and each took turns posing with Robinson’s body. Afterwards, they buried Robinson at the site. Robinson’s disappearance was traced to Lawrence and Rodgers. The men were confronted by an investigator and they denied ever knowing Robinson. Lawrence gave his consent for the investigator to search his trailer and truck. The investigator discovered the photographs of Robinson’s body taken during mutilation, disturbing notes written about the mutilation, a Lorcin .380 handgun, and miscellaneous artifacts of the murder event. Lawrence was instantly arrested by the investigator and confessed to his involvement; he then led investigators to Robinson’s body.

    Lawrence was indicted on June 4, 1998 and pled guilty on four counts: Count I, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder; Count II, giving alcoholic beverages to a minor; Count III, first-degree premeditated murder; and Count IV, abuse of a human corpse.

    Lawrence was sentenced to death in Santa Rosa County on August 15, 2000.

    Co-defendant information:
    Jeremiah Martel Rodgers (DC# 123101) was also sentenced to death.
    Rodgers pled guilty for the same offenses as Lawrence. Their prosecutions were conducted separately in the First Circuit Court of Santa Rosa County (CC# 98-274).

  2. #2
    Senior Member CnCP Legend JLR's Avatar
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    Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition of Sentence:

    It took the Florida Supreme Court three years to render a decision on Lawrence’s Direct Appeal.

    Case Information:

    On 3/27/00, Lawrence filed a Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. There were numerous issues raised. First, Lawrence claimed the trial court failed to appoint medical experts and order an evidentiary competency hearing regarding his current mental and psychological disturbances, which were of a serious nature. Second, Lawrence contended that the trial court erred again by excluding Rodgers’ criminal history, as Lawrence claimed that he acted under extreme duress through his involvement with Rodgers. Third, Lawrence argued that the trial court erroneously discovered the cold, calculated, and premeditated aggravator (CCP), indicating that Lawrence had a prearranged plan to kill Robinson. Fourth, Lawrence claimed that the trial court committed reversible error by including non-recorded facts on the CCP findings and by ambiguously assigning weight to the mitigator. Fifth, Lawrence raised the constitutionality of the death sentence, indicating that it violated Florida, federal, and international law. Sixth, Lawrence claimed the trial court erred in denying his motion for a mistrial, as a result of the trial court committing reversible error by overruling Lawrence’s objections to the investigator’s opinion on Lawrence’s alter ego. Finally, Lawrence claimed that his sentence was disproportionate to the circumstances of the crime in that there were more mitigating than aggravated circumstances. Because the sentencing order of this case found extensive aggravating circumstances and substantial mitigating circumstances, the Court believed the trial judge properly weighed these circumstances in delivering his death sentence. Thus, the Court upheld his death sentence on 03/20/03.

    On 07/15/03, Lawrence filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, which was denied on 10/14/03.

    On 9/10/04, Lawrence filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court. The Motion was amended on 02/11/05, and was denied on 01/26/06.

    On 02/22/06, Lawrence filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. On 11/01/07, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the Circuit Court’s denial of Lawrence’s 3.850 appeal. The Mandate was issued on 11/26/07.

    On 06/14/06, Lawrence filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus to the Florida Supreme Court, which was denied on 11/01/07. The Mandate was issued on 11/26/07.

    On 02/20/08, Lawrence filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus in the United States District Court, Northern District. This petition was denied on 07/21/10.

  3. #3
    Senior Member CnCP Legend JLR's Avatar
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    On October 30, 2012, Lawrence's appeal was denied by the Eleventh Circuit.

    http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/ops/201013862.pdf

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    In today's United States Supreme Court orders, Lawerence's petition for a writ of certiorari was DENIED.

    Lower Ct: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
    Case Nos.: (10-13862)
    Decision Date: October 30, 2012
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    Moderator Dave from Florida's Avatar
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    Back in 1980-2000, a death warrant would be signed before the week was out after denial of certiorari to the 11th Circuit. Thanks to inaction by our previous Governor Crist, the backlog is insurmountable. For a Governor who ran for office exclusively on the economy, Rick Scott is carrying out his duties much better than Crist, our former Attorney General.
    Last edited by Dave from Florida; 04-15-2013 at 07:46 PM.

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    Death row inmate up for re-sentencing in brutal murder says he wants to be executed

    Death row inmate Jonathan Lawrence has a chance to avoid execution for the murder of Jennifer Robinson — a victim who he and a co-defendant killed and mutilated in 1998 — but he has said he wants to die.

    Lawrence, 43, has been on death row since 2000, when a Santa Rosa County jury convicted him of murder and recommended 11-1 that he should be sentenced to death. Now, a judge will decide whether to uphold the death sentence or instead sentence Lawrence to life in prison.

    In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled death penalty recommendations that are not unanimous are unconstitutional, and since then, numerous death penalty cases have returned to local courts for re-sentencing. In those cases, the defendants' guilty convictions remain but a jury or judge is tasked with deciding whether that person should remain on death row or serve a life sentence.

    What happened?

    Lawrence and his co-defendant, Jeremiah Rodgers, 41, killed Robinson in 1998 at the culmination of a two-month crime spree in Santa Rosa County. Another man, Lawrence's cousin Justin Livingston, was killed and a third victim, Leighton Smitherman, was shot, during the spree. Lawrence was sentenced to life in prison for Livingston's murder and 8.5 years for the non-fatal shooting of Smitherman.

    Both Rodgers and Lawrence are on death row for Robinson’s murder. The men brutally mutilated the woman's body after death and cut off her calf muscle and stored it in a freezer.

    Lawrence’s case returned to Santa Rosa County Court on Monday for a re-hearing of the penalty phase, but it was halted to allow for a court-appointed attorney to begin gathering mitigating evidence.

    How are death penalty cases decided?

    Death penalty cases are divided into two parts — the guilt phase and the penalty phase. During the guilt phase, a jury hears the evidence and decides if the defendant is guilty. If the defendant is convicted, the case moves to the penalty phase and the prosecution presents aggravating factors that may have played into the crime and the defense presents mitigating factors, such as a troubled upbringing or community involvement, that could influence a sentence.

    Usually, a re-hearing of the penalty phase would be conducted before a jury, but Lawrence waived his right to have a jury decide his fate and instead chose for a judge to decide whether to uphold his sentence.

    Why he wants the death penalty

    In a letter addressed to Circuit Judge David Rimmer dated Aug. 14, 2017, Lawrence wrote he doesn’t want his case to go back to court, and he wishes to die.

    He wrote that he wants his death sentence reinstated and said that’s what he deserves.

    "I've had no intention of putting the families, friends and loved ones of the innocent people I deliberately helped murder through all these 20 long years of grief, suffering and loss to have to indure (sic) more," reads the letter, which was filed in court documents. "They deserve justice and every amount of peace my death sentence and conclusion might give them."

    Prosecutor John Molchan said the letter was recently addressed in court, but Rimmer ruled it was necessary to hold the re-sentencing, regardless of Lawrence's wishes.

    Molchan said Lawrence directed his attorneys not to gather mitigating evidence and not to present an active defense, but Rimmer appointed attorney Michelle Hendrix to present mitigating evidence on Lawrence's behalf.

    Hendrix declined to comment on the case.

    Molchan said there have been other death penalty cases in which defendants did not want a re-sentencing but courts have ruled they need to go through the proper processes.

    "In essence, the courts have told us that while a person may want to die or want the death penalty, it’s important that the court consider everything," Molchan said.

    Lawrence's co-defendant, Rodgers, is not eligible for resentencing under the new law.

    The Florida Supreme Court ruled that evidence in Rodgers' initial sentencing phase wasn’t handled correctly and the case was sent back to Santa Rosa County Court in 2007, according to News Journal archives.

    During that re-sentencing, Rodgers waived the right to a jury and instead had Circuit Court Judge Paul Rasmussen impose the sentence. Rasmussen maintained the death sentence.

    Because at that second sentencing Rodgers chose for a judge, rather than a jury, to hear the penalty phase, he is not eligible now to have his case reviewed under the new ruling.

    Molchan said there has not yet been another hearing scheduled in Lawrence's case.

    Lawrence remains out of Florida Department of Corrections custody while the local case is ongoing and is currently housed at the Santa Rosa County Jail.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.pnj.com/amp/675180002
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    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Santa Rosa County man on death row may get new sentence

    By Christina Leavenworth
    WEAR News

    SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla. (WEAR) — A Santa Rosa County man on death row had a resentencing hearing Monday. The murder happened 20 years ago. Jonathan Lawrence was convicted of killing and mutilating 18-year-old Jennifer Robinson in Santa Rosa County in May of 1998. In the original sentencing, a jury voted in favor of the death penalty 11-1.

    Lawrence was back in court because in 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled death penalty recommendations that are not unanimous are unconstitutional. Since then, several death penalty cases have returned to court for re-sentencing.

    The guilty convictions remain, but a jury or judge has to decide whether that person should remain on death row or serve a life sentence. The State Attorney's Office said Lawrence wrote a letter in 2017 to a judge asking for the death penalty to remain.

    Assistant State Attorney John Molchan said despite what a defendant wants, the Supreme Court requires the case be resentenced.

    Molchan says the defendant's special counsel provided testimony from a doctor and some of his relatives stating he had problems in the past and didn't deserve to be executed. The state is asking for the judge to uphold the death penalty. The judge will announce his decision on September 12th.

    A co-defendant was also convicted in the case. Jeremiah Rodgers had his original case before a judge, so he did not qualify for a re-sentencing.

    https://weartv.com/news/local/santa-...t-new-sentence
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    Pensacola death row inmate's wish granted as judge upholds death sentence

    By Staff Reports
    Pensacola News Journal

    Death row inmate Jonathan Lawrence's wishes were granted when Circuit Judge David Rimmer re-sentenced him Tuesday to death for the 1998 murder of Jennifer Robinson in Santa Rosa County, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

    Lawrence, 43, and his co-defendant, Jeremiah Rodgers, 41, are on death row for Robinson’s murder. The men brutally mutilated the woman's body after death and cut off her calf muscle and stored it in a freezer during a two-month crime spree in Santa

    Rosa County where the two also killed Lawrence's cousin, Justing Livingston, and shot Leighton Smitherman. Smitherman survived the gunshot.

    A Santa Rosa Jury had previously recommended that the death penalty be imposed by a vote of 11-1 in 2000. Rimmer ordered a new death penalty proceeding take place back on March 24, 2017, in light of the Hurst rulings which require a unanimous verdict for the imposition of the death penalty.

    Lawrence wrote a letter to Rimmer dated Aug. 14, 2017, stating that did not want to go back to court and that he wished to die. Lawrence wrote that he wanted his sentence reinstated because it's what he "deserved.

    "I've had no intention of putting the families, friends and loved ones of the innocent people I deliberately helped murder through all these 20 long years of grief, suffering and loss to have to indure (sic) more," reads the letter, which was filed in court documents. "They deserve justice and every amount of peace my death sentence and conclusion might give them."

    The letter was brought up in court, according to Prosecutor John Molchan, but Rimmer ruled it was necessary to hold the re-sentencing.

    A new penalty phase began on June 4 before Rimmer. Penalty phases are usually brought before a jury during re-hearings, but Lawrence waived his right to present mitigation and have a jury decide his sentence, instead choosing for a judge to determine whether to uphold his sentence.

    The state established two aggravators: The defendant had previously been convicted of another capital felony or a felony involving the use or threat of violence; and the murder of Robinson was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner.

    The court appointed special counsel to provide mitigation that was presented on Aug. 20.

    https://www.pnj.com/story/news/crime...ce/1283532002/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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    Pensacola death row inmate's wish granted as judge upholds death sentence

    Death row inmate Jonathan Lawrence's wishes were granted when Circuit Judge David Rimmer re-sentenced him Tuesday to death for the 1998 murder of Jennifer Robinson in Santa Rosa County, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

    Lawrence, 43, and his co-defendant, Jeremiah Rodgers, 41, are on death row for Robinson’s murder. The men brutally mutilated the woman's body after death and cut off her calf muscle and stored it in a freezer during a two-month crime spree in Santa Rosa County where the two also killed Lawrence's cousin, Justing Livingston, and shot Leighton Smitherman. Smitherman survived the gunshot.

    A Santa Rosa Jury had previously recommended that the death penalty be imposed by a vote of 11-1 in 2000. Rimmer ordered a new death penalty proceeding take place back on March 24, 2017, in light of the Hurst rulings which require a unanimous verdict for the imposition of the death penalty.

    Lawrence wrote a letter to Rimmer dated Aug. 14, 2017, stating that did not want to go back to court and that he wished to die. Lawrence wrote that he wanted his sentence reinstated because it's what he "deserved."

    "I've had no intention of putting the families, friends and loved ones of the innocent people I deliberately helped murder through all these 20 long years of grief, suffering and loss to have to indure (sic) more," reads the letter, which was filed in court documents. "They deserve justice and every amount of peace my death sentence and conclusion might give them."

    The letter was brought up in court, according to Prosecutor John Molchan, but Rimmer ruled it was necessary to hold the re-sentencing.

    A new penalty phase began on June 4 before Rimmer. Penalty phases are usually brought before a jury during re-hearings, but Lawrence waived his right to present mitigation and have a jury decide his sentence, instead choosing for a judge to determine whether to uphold his sentence.

    The state established two aggravators: The defendant had previously been convicted of another capital felony or a felony involving the use or threat of violence; and the murder of Robinson was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner.

    The court appointed special counsel to provide mitigation that was presented on Aug. 20.

    https://www.pnj.com/story/news/crime...ce/1283532002/
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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    Senior Member CnCP Addict one_two_bomb's Avatar
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    "I've had no intention of putting the families, friends and loved ones of the innocent people I deliberately helped murder through all these 20 long years of grief, suffering and loss to have to indure (sic) more," reads the letter, which was filed in court documents. "They deserve justice and every amount of peace my death sentence and conclusion might give them."
    Well then commit suicide dingbat! Friggin renob!

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