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Thomas Mitchell Overton - Florida Death Row
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Thread: Thomas Mitchell Overton - Florida Death Row

  1. #1
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    Thomas Mitchell Overton - Florida Death Row


    Susan and Michael MacIvor on their wedding day


    Missy and Michael MacIvor wedding photo




    Summary of Offense:

    On August 22, 1991, the bodies of Susan and Michael MacIvor were found in their home in Tavernier Key by concerned neighbors and coworkers. Ms. MacIvor was eight months pregnant. When law enforcement searched their house, they found Mr. MacIvorís body in the living room. The room appeared as if a struggle had taken place.

    Mr. MacIvor was dressed in a T-shirt and his underwear. His head was covered with masking tape so that only part of his nose was exposed. There was a blood spot on the shoulder of the T-shirt. The body displayed slight bleeding from the nostrils, and there was evidence of bruising on the neck. Ms. MacIvorís body was found in the master bedroom. Her body was on the bed on top of the comforter. She was completely naked. Her ankles were bound with a belt, masking tape and a piece of clothesline rope. Her wrists were bound with a belt, and there was a belt linking her ankles to her wrists. A garrote made of a necktie and a black sash had been tied around her neck.

    A dresser drawer was open in the bedroom that led to the officers to conclude that the articles that were used to secure Ms. MacIvor belonged to the victims. Ms. MacIvorís eyes were covered with masking tape. Several items were found under the comforter: items that appeared to have come from Ms. MacIvorís purse as well as her nightshirt and panties. Ms. MacIvorís nightshirt had been ripped off with great force and her panties had been cut by a sharp instrument at each side. A luma light revealed semen stains on Ms. MacIvorís pubic area, buttocks, and the inside of her thighs. The luma light also exposed semen stains on the sheets. The sheets and the mattress pad were placed into evidence. A .22-caliber shell casing was found in the bedroom along with a bullet hole in the bedroom curtain. In addition, an address book with pages torn out was also found. The sliding glass doors in the bedroom were open and a box fan was running. There had been a heavy rain storm the night before, which, combined with the heat, had left a layer of moisture on Ms. MacIvorís body. In the guest room, the sliding glass doors were also open. A ladder had been propped up against the house near the guest bedroom balcony. The clothesline from the balcony had been cut. A piece of clothesline rope had been found outside of the master bedroom door. Outside the house, the phone wires had been cut with a sharp instrument.

    The medical examiner testified to findings from the autopsy. Mr. MacIvor suffered a severe blow to the back of the head. There was bruising around the larynx. The larynx, hyoid bone, and epiglottis had been fractured. There was bruising and an internal contusion which reflected a heavy blow to the back of the head. There were ligature marks on his neck indicating the device was wrapped around his neck several times. Internally, the neck was unstable and dislocated at the fifth cervical vertebrate. There was internal bleeding in his left shoulder, signifying a severe blow. He also had bruising in the abdominal area that could have been caused by a strong kick to the stomach. The cause of death was reported as asphyxiation by ligature strangulation. The medical examiner estimated that Mr. MacIvor was conscious for 10 to 15 seconds after the ligature was placed around his neck, although he limited his opinion by stating that it would have depended upon the amount of pressure that was used.

    Ms. MacIvorís body had several abrasions on her face, genitals and legs in addition to ligature marks around her neck and wrists. The medical examiner stated that it appeared that she had moved against the ligature causing friction. Her face was discolored due to the partial application of the ligature. This caused the blood to enter the head at the normal rate, but it was unable to exit as quickly, in addition to increasing the time that it took to render Ms. MacIvor unconscious. Ms. MacIvor was eight months pregnant. The medical examiner testified that the male child would have been viable if Ms. MacIvor had given birth. The child lived approximately 30 minutes after Ms. MacIvor passed away. Evidence indicated that the child tried to breathe while still in the womb.

    During the initial stage of the investigation, tests were run on the stains found on the mattress pads and the sheets, which tested positive for sperm. The swabs of Ms. MacIvorís body did not reveal any spermatozoa. The medical examiner attributed this contradiction to the moist climate in which Ms. MacIvorís body was found. This climate provided the environment for the seminal fluid to decompose leaving no sperm. It was at this time that law enforcement initially considered Thomas Overton as a possible suspect. He was suspected in another murder, which he was never arrested for. He was a known cat burglar, plus he worked at the Amoco gas station that was located only minutes away from the MacIvorís residence.

    In June 1993, the bedding samples were sent to Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for DNA testing. No match was found at that time.

    In 1996, Overton was arrested during the course of a burglary. While he was in custody, FDLE asked Overton for a blood sample. Overton refused. After his refusal and while still in custody, Overton attempted to commit suicide by cutting his throat. A blood sample was taken from the towels that had been used during the incident. Preliminary testing of the sample gave law enforcement enough evidence to obtain a court order forcing Overton to relinquish a sample of his blood.

    In November 1996, Overtonís DNA was compared to the DNA found on the bedding sample from the MacIvor murders. The comparison produced a match with the probability in excess of one in six billion.

    In 1998, the samples were submitted to another lab for a different DNA test. Again, the comparison produced a match with the probability of one in four trillion.

    This DNA evidence was presented at Overtonsí trial in addition to the testimony of two witnesses. The first witness was William Guy Green. Green testified that Overton admitted to him that he had committed a burglary in a wealthy neighborhood in the Florida Keys. Overton related the events that occurred to Green stating that he entered the house and fought with the woman, who had jumped on his back. He also stated that he had fought with another individual in the house. Overton told Green that he to ďwaste somebody in the Keys.Ē Overton discussed the safety measures that he would utilize when he committed burglaries, such as cutting the phone wires to the house, wearing gloves, and bringing along equipment such as a gun, knife, gloves and disguises. Overton also told Green that the best time to burglarize a house is during a power outage or a storm.

    The second witness was James Zientek. Overton had met Zientek in the Monroe County jail in May 1997. Overton related all of the details of the two murders to Zientek so that Zientek could relate to law enforcement that he had heard the story from another inmate thereby creating reasonable doubt for Overton. The following events are what Overton told Zientek: Overton had met Ms. MacIvor at the Amoco station by the victimís house where he had worked. He described Ms. MacIvor as being ďhot and coldĒ due to the fact that on some days she was nice and other days she was ďbitchy.Ē Overton had gotten Ms. MacIvorís address from one of her checks. He had observed the house prior to the night of the murder on several occasions.

    On the night of August 21, 1991, Overton went to the MacIvorís home. He was dressed in all black with a mask and gloves. He cut the phone wires and then leaned a ladder against the balcony. This movement made some noise and subsequently a light came on in the house. Overton waited 20 minutes before entering the house. He climbed up the ladder, and when he reached the balcony, he cut the clothesline, ďpoppedĒ the sliding glass doors in the guest bedroom and entered the house. He walked through the house and viewed the MacIvors sleeping. Overton continued to walk around the house and, at one point, he heard a noise and he looked to see Mr. MacIvor walking to the kitchen and then opening the refrigerator. According to Overton, Mr. MacIvor must have sensed that something was wrong because he began to look around and Overton panicked.

    Overton came at Mr. MacIvor from behind and hit him in the head with a pipe from the house. Mr. MacIvor was not rendered unconscious immediately, so Overton hit him with his fists to knock him out. At this point, Ms. MacIvor ran out of the bedroom, and Overton then chased her back into the bedroom. Overton tied her up with items that he found in the bedroom and tried to talk to Ms. MacIvor telling her that if everyone cooperated no one would get hurt.

    Ms. MacIvor told Overton that she knew who he was. Overton became concerned about Mr. MacIvor coming to. He went back to the living room and placed a sock over Mr. MacIvorís eyes and put masking tape around his entire head. Overtonís rationale for this behavior was that he did not want Mr. MacIvorís eyes to pop out of his head, and he knew that his nose would bleed.

    Overton went back to the bedroom and raped Ms. MacIvor and then strangled her because he didnít ďwant to leave any fitnesses.Ē Overton stated that, at some point, he saw movement in Ms. MacIvorís stomach and placed his hand on her belly to feel the fetus move. Overton returned to the living room and saw that Mr. MacIvor was ďjust becoming conscious.Ē Overton proceeded to kick Mr. MacIvor in the stomach and then strangle him. Overton also told Zientek that he did not know about the bullet hole and that he tore pages out of the address book to make the scene appear as if the assailant wanted to remove their name from the book.

    Overton admitted that his intent when he entered the house was to rape Ms. MacIvor. At the trial, the defense rested solely on the notion that the stains on the bedding had been planted by law enforcement officials; specifically, that a detective had collected some of Overtonís sperm from Overtonís girlfriend and then brought the sample to the crime scene in a condom. Nonoxymol-9 had been found in the samples, but it could not be ascertained whether the substance, used both as a spermicide and as a cleaning agent, originally came from a condom or the detergent used to wash the sheets.

    Overton was sentenced to death in Monroe County on March 18, 1999.

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

    The eight years from the indictment to the trial delayed the case’s progression.

    Case Information:

    Overton filed a direct appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on 04/22/99. The main issues raised in the appeal were that the trial court erred in denying the defense challenges for cause of two prospective jurors. In reference to this issue, reversible error is constituted if there was error in the denial of challenges for both jurors. The Court ruled that one of the jurors should have been excused for cause but that the trial could did not abuse its discretion by not granting the challenge for cause in the case of the second juror; therefore, reversible error was not established. In regard to the sentencing phase of the trial, Overton asserted that the trial court erred in not considering certain available mitigation, even though Overton refused to present any mitigation at the sentencing hearing. The Court stated that the trial court did not commit any error in its consideration and evaluation of the available mitigating evidence. The Court affirmed the conviction and sentence on 09/13/01. The rehearing was denied and the mandate was issued on 12/03/01.

    Overton filed a petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court on 03/13/02. The petition was denied on 05/13/02.

    On 04/30/03, Overton filed a 3.851 Motion to the Circuit Court. The motion was amended on 10/31/03. The motion was denied on 02/14/05.

    Overton filed a 3.853 Motion (DNA) to the Circuit Court on 04/03/03, which was denied on 08/19/04.

    On 10/27/04, Overton filed a 3.853 Appeal (DNA) to the Florida Supreme Court. On 06/01/05, Overton filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. Overton filed a motion to consolidate the appeals (3.853 Appeal (DNA) and 3.850 Appeal) on 06/02/05, which was granted on 07/21/05. The Florida Supreme Court denied Overton’s 3.853 Appeal on 11/26/07. On 12/14/07, Overton filed a motion for rehearing, which was denied on 02/25/08. On 03/12/08, the Florida Supreme Court issued a Mandate in this case.

    On 06/01/05, Overton filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. On 07/21/05, the Court issued an order to consolidate with the 3.853 (DNA) Appeal. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the 3.850 Motion on 11/26/07. On 12/14/07, Overton filed a motion for rehearing, which was denied on 02/25/08. On 03/12/08, the Florida Supreme Court issued a Mandate in this case.

    On 02/08/06, Overton filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to the Florida Supreme Court, which was denied on 11/26/07. On 12/14/07, Overton filed a motion for rehearing, which was denied on 02/25/08. On 03/12/08, the Florida Supreme Court issued a Mandate in this case.

  3. #3
    Senior Member CnCP Legend JLR's Avatar
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    Judge rejects death sentence appeal

    Convicted triple-murderer Thomas Overton lost his latest bid to overturn his death sentence Tuesday.

    In a 14-page ruling, Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Mark Jones rejected claims presented by Overton's appellate lawyers at a January hearing as "absolutely baseless" and "devoid of merit."

    Overton, now 56, has been on Florida's death row since being convicted 13 years ago for the 1991 murders of Michael and Susan "Missy" MacIvor and their unborn child during a break-in at the family's Tavernier home.

    The "court finds that evidence establishing the defendant's guilt remains overwhelming," Jones wrote in his ruling.

    In the latest of multiple appeals from the horrific murder, Overton's lawyers argued at a Jan. 24 hearing:

    That Sandra Shaw, a former part-time employee of a private investigator, could provide testimony that her ex-boss had been watching the MacIvors and made suspicious comments after the crime.

    That a former Monroe County inmate had been improperly rewarded by investigators and homicide detectives for his "jailhouse informant" testimony against Overton.

    That same inmate, James Pesci, was branded as a liar by the Monroe County State Attorney's Office in a separate proceeding seven years after Overton's conviction.

    Jones dismissed allegations that law-enforcement officials had taken Pesci out drinking and arranged for him to have sex in return for his testimony as "completely fallacious."

    Pesci had claimed in an unrelated 2006 action involving a sexual-battery conviction that he received special treatment in exchange for his testimony against Overton. However, Pesci recanted that story at the January hearing. He testified "the testimony he provided at the Overton trial was truthful and that he was never provided sex, alcohol or drugs" to give it, Jones wrote.

    Without any evidence or supporting testimony for the alleged Pesci binge, Jones said the claim of improper rewards is "absolutely baseless."

    Shaw, the private investigator's employee, didn't contact Overton's defense lawyers until 2005, after she saw a television program on the MacIvor murders. Jones said there is no indication that law enforcement knew of her existence, so the state did not withhold evidence from the defense.

    In any event, the judge wrote, Shaw's belief that her former boss somehow may have been involved amounts to "sheer speculation" that would be inadmissible as uncorroborated hearsay in any trial.

    Overton, a service-station clerk who moonlighted as a burglar, was linked to the crimes after detectives obtained a DNA sample from his blood while he was in custody in November 1994 on a burglary conviction. Appeals he filed in 2005 and 2007 also were rejected.

    He's one of three people from Monroe County on Florida's Death Row.

    http://www.keysnet.com/2012/04/14/43...ce-appeal.html

  4. #4
    Administrator Michael's Avatar
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    I hope we see him soon with a date. His time on DR is up.
    No murder can be so cruel that there are not still useful imbeciles who do gloss over the murderer and apologize.

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave from Florida's Avatar
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    Overton hasn't been to federal court yet so it is a few years out at least.

  6. #6
    Administrator Michael's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info DaveP. 13 years on DR...
    No murder can be so cruel that there are not still useful imbeciles who do gloss over the murderer and apologize.

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    Killer Overton running out of appeals

    Thomas Overton, a Death Row inmate considered among the most notorious killers the Florida Keys have produced, has lost his latest appeal of his conviction with an Aug. 8 Florida Supreme Court decision.

    Overton, 57, has been on Florida's death row since being convicted in 1999 of first-degree murder in the Aug. 22, 1991, deaths of Michael and Susan "Missy" MacIvor and their unborn child during a break-in at the family's Tavernier home.

    He got two death sentences for the couple's slayings and 15 years for killing their unborn child. He's also doing life for burglary and sexual battery.

    In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Overton made largely the same arguments he did in his failed appeal of his death sentences. Among them: That possible witness Sandra Shaw should have been allowed to testify and that the testimony for the prosecution of former fellow inmate James Pesci was tainted.

    In April 2012, Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Mark Jones, who presided over his trial, upheld Overton's death sentences, calling his claims "absolutely baseless" and "devoid of merit."

    "He has exhausted all state-level appeals," Assistant Monroe County State Attorney Mark Wilson said. "All that's left for him is federal habeas," meaning a U.S. Supreme Court review.

    Overton, a service-station clerk who moonlighted as a burglar, was always considered the main suspect in the deaths. He was finally linked to the crimes after detectives obtained a DNA sample from his blood while he was in custody in November 1994 on a burglary count.

    The MacIvors were found in two separate rooms of their two-story home on Plantation Key.

    The body of Susan MacIvor, a Key Largo School teacher and 8 months pregnant with a boy, was found naked with her hands and feet tied in the bedroom. She was strangled. The medical examiner at the time said her baby likely survived about a half an hour after his mother was killed.

    Michael MacIvor, an airplane mechanic, was found in the living room. His face was wrapped in tape, with only his nose partially exposed. Investigators determined he was strangled to death but he was also beaten with a pipe.

    "It's a horrendous crime," Wilson said.

    Overton's latest appeal was six-fold and included questioning the validity of Pesci's testimony, with a claim that the state withheld evidence that Pesci was a "pathological liar," among other things. Pesci served time in the Stock Island jail with Overton. He cooperated with investigators and his testimony was instrumental in convicting Overton.

    Pesci was locked up at the time on charges that included sexual battery, sexual assault, robbery, grand theft auto and resisting arrest. He wanted those charges dropped in exchange for his cooperation in the Overton case.

    From the Supreme Court ruling: "The record clearly demonstrates that Overton's defense team was well aware before Overton's capital trial of Pesci's criminal record, his pending criminal charges and his propensity for lying."

    Shaw had worked at a private-investigator firm. Overton contended she could have provided testimony that her ex-boss had been watching the MacIvors and made suspicious comments after the crime.

    However, the Supreme Court decision says "given the highly inculpatory DNA evidence and testimony presented during trial directly linking Overton to the murders of Susan and Michael MacIvor ... [her testimony] would probably not produce an acquittal on retrial."

    Appeals Overton filed in 2005 and 2007 also were rejected.

    http://www.keysnet.com/2013/08/14/48...ng-out-of.html
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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

  8. #8
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    I didn't see an August 08, 2013 opinion on the Florida Supreme Court website.
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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

  9. #9
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    On November 8, 2013, Overton filed a habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    https://dockets.justia.com/docket/fl...cv10172/446822

  10. #10
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Once he is denied for his habeas petition will he be eligible for an xdate? Just curious because I'm watching a show on these murders right now.

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