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Thomas Davis Woodel - Florida
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Thread: Thomas Davis Woodel - Florida

  1. #1
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    Thomas Davis Woodel - Florida




    Summary of Offense:

    On December 31, 1996, 79-year-old Clifford Moody and his 74-year-old wife Bernice Moody were found dead. The couple resided in a mobile home trailer on lot 533 at Outdoor Resorts of America in Polk County. The Moodys owned an adjoining trailer in lot 532, which was sometimes rented. The trailer was in the process of being cleaned and prepared to be rented. The Moodys were found dead in the trailer on lot 532 a little after 1:00 p.m. Clifford Moody was found lying on his back in the dining room area. His underwear and pants had been pulled down below his knees. The medical examiner testified that Clifford Moody died from internal bleeding caused by eight stab wounds. Bernice Moody’s body was found on a bed in the back of the trailer. She had on no clothing, except for one sock. On the floor next to the bed was a nightgown and underwear tied in a knot. Pieces of a porcelain toilet tank lid were discovered underneath her. The medical examiner testified that Bernice died in the early morning hours of December 31, 1996. She received 56 cut/stab wounds. She also had blunt trauma injuries to her head, fractured nasal bones and a slit jugular vein. Many of her cut/stab wounds were located on her right arm, which suggested the wounds were received in self-defense. No semen was detected on Bernice Moody.

    On January 3, 1997, detectives searched the Outdoor Resorts dumpsters, retrieving three garbage bags containing pieces of the porcelain toilet tank lid, Clifford Moody’s wallet containing his identification and credit cards, bloody socks, and paperwork bearing the address of lot 301 and the names of Thomas Woodel and his son, Christopher Woodel. Detectives went to lot 301 where Thomas Woodel resided with his girlfriend, son and other relatives. Upon searching the premises, detectives discovered the knife used in the murder wedged between a dresser and wall. Detectives then questioned Thomas Woodel, and he confessed to murdering both Clifford and Bernice Moody. Woodel claimed that he had never previously met the couple. After drinking with friends in a lot near his work, he walked to Outdoor Resorts. He admitted to entering the trailer on lot 532 on the morning of December 31, 1996, with the intention of asking Bernice Moody for the time. She was alone in the trailer and upon seeing him, attacked him with a knife. Woodel confessed to stabbing Bernice Moody several times and hitting her over the head with a porcelain toilet tank lid one to three times, shattering the lid. In his confession, Woodel declared that Clifford Moody returned home as he was leaving the trailer. Woodel admitted to murdering him. Afterwards, he collected the pieces of the shattered toilet lid, knife, and Clifford Moody’s wallet and hid the items in a bucket. Woodel also said in his confession that he threw some items into a canal in the mobile home park, threw some items away in his garbage, and hid the knife behind a dresser.

    Woodel was re-sentenced to death in Polk County on July 1, 2005.

  2. #2
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    Case Information:

    On 03/18/99, Woodel filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court. Woodel contended that he was denied due process of law and effective assistance of counsel. He argued that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by the trial court completing the penalty phase in one day. Woodel also argued that there was insufficient evidence to prove his guilt and that error occurred in his indictment being constructively amended in order to submit the felony-murder theory to the jury. Woodel contended that the court erred in refusing to grant a mistrial after evidence that the state presented in their opening statement was held inadmissible. His final arguments were that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the killings took place during the acts of burglary, or that the victims were vulnerable due to age or disability, and that the court did not give proper treatment to the mitigating circumstances. On 12/20/01, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the convictions, but vacated Woodel’s two death sentences and remanded the case to the Circuit Court for a new penalty phase.

    On 07/01/05, Woodel was resentenced to death for Count II of the original conviction of the murder of Bernice Moody.

    On 07/27/05, Woodel filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court. Woodel contended the Circuit Court’s resentencing of death, citing the following issues: (1) the court erred in excusing for cause two jurors who were not sufficiently fluent in English to participate in Woodel’s penalty trial without the aid of an interpreter, in violation of the Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States and Article I, sections 2, 9, 16, and 22 of the Constitution of the state of Florida, (2) the appellant’s jury should not have been permitted to hear and consider irrelevant and prejudicial testimony from state witness Arthur White, (3) the evidence presented was insufficient to prove that Bernice Moody was particularly vulnerable due to advanced age or disability, (4) the sentence of death is not proportionally warranted, (5) the appellant is entitled to life imprisonment because the Florida death penalty statute violated his due process right and right to a jury trial, which requires that a death-qualifying aggravating circumstance must be found by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, and (6) execution by lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. On 05/01/08, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the State Circuit Court’s disposition of the sentence of death. On 05/16/08, Woodel filed a Motion for Rehearing, which was denied on 06/26/08. On 07/14/08, The Florida Supreme Court issued the mandate in this case.

    On 09/24/08, Woodel filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. This petition was denied on 11/17/08.

    On 11/06/09, Woodel filed a 3.851 Motion in the circuit court, which is pending. An amended 3.851 Motion was filed on 04/16/10.

    Status conf. scheduled 2/10/11 & 3/21/11 in Circuit Court

  3. #3
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    Judge Orders New Jury to Decide Murder's Fate

    A judge has ordered that convicted Polk County murderer Thomas Woodel be taken off Florida's death row again and given a third chance to argue for his life.

    The ruling comes just a few days shy of the 15th anniversary of the brutal stabbing deaths of an elderly couple Woodel remains guilty of killing.

    Circuit Judge J. Michael Hunter signed an order Wednesday that there was sufficient evidence to uphold Woodel's convictions for armed burglary, armed robbery and two counts of first-degree murder.

    However, the judge overturned Woodel's death sentence for Bernice Moody's killing.

    Bernice Moody, 74, and Clifford Moody, 79, were killed on Dec. 31, 1996, inside their mobile home in the Four Corners area.

    Bernice Moody had been cut or stabbed more than 50 times, and her throat had been slit. She had also been hit over the head with a toilet tank lid.

    Clifford Moody had been stabbed eight times.

    Woodel was later found guilty and sentenced to death for the killings. In 2001, the Florida Supreme Court tossed out the death sentences, saying Circuit Judge Robert E. Pyle hadn't properly considered mitigating circumstances.

    A second jury was asked to make a recommendation in 2004, and the majority of that panel voted that Woodel should be given life imprisonment for Clifford Moody's death. The jury recommended by the narrowest of margins -- 7 to 5 -- that Woodel be executed for the killing of Bernice Moody.

    Circuit Judge Susan Roberts followed the jury's recommendation and sentenced Woodel to death.

    In Wednesday's 86-page order, Hunter concluded Woodel's lawyers were ineffective during the 2004 hearing when the second jury was asked to recommend whether Woodel should be executed.

    The judge ruled a third jury should be summoned to hear additional evidence and arguments and make a recommendation.

    Chip Thullbery, a spokesman with the State Attorney's Office, said prosecutors are reviewing Hunter's order and haven't made a decision yet on a course of action. However, he said prosecutors wouldn't agree to a life sentence for Woodel.

    “The state will continue to pursue the death penalty against Mr. Woodel,” Thullbery said.

    Prosecutors have a few options. They could ask Hunter to reconsider his decision. They could appeal Hunter's order to the Florida Supreme Court. They could also agree that another jury should be gathered to make a life sentence or death penalty recommendation.

    http://www.theledger.com/article/201...NEWS/111229269

  4. #4
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    Oral argument was heard in Woodel's case on May 8, 2013 before the Florida Supreme Court.

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...&hl=en&ct=clnk

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    This is insane..its been almost 18 years since he brutally killed these two elderly people.

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    THE STATE v THOMAS D. WOODEL

    In today's opinions, the Florida Supreme Court REVERSED the trial court’s order granting Woodel a new penalty phase, AFFIRMED the trial court’s order denying an entirely new trial, and reinstated Woodel’s sentence of death.
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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  7. #7
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    On September 23, 2014, Woodel filed a habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/flo...cv02406/302449

  8. #8
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    In today's orders, the United States Supreme Court declined to review Woodel's petition for certiorari.

    Docketed: January 27, 2015
    Linked with 14A521
    Lower Ct: Supreme Court of Florida
    Case Nos.: (SC12-132)
    Decision Date: June 5, 2014
    Rehearing Denied: August 28, 2014

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/search.a...les/14-906.htm

  9. #9
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    Poole eligible for new sentencing hearing

    By Suzie Schottelkotte
    The Ledger

    BARTOW — Convicted murderer Mark Anthony Poole, who’s spent the past 12 years on Florida’s death row, is getting a new sentencing hearing.

    He’s among four death row inmates from Polk County who will be re-sentenced based on a January 2016 Florida Supreme Court ruling that led to changes in the state’s death penalty process.

    Poole, 54, was convicted in 2005 for the brutal home-invasion murder of Noah Scott, 24, who was sleeping in October 2001 when Poole broke into the Lakeland mobile home he shared with his pregnant fiancee. She awoke to Poole raping her with a pillow over her face, demanding to know where the money was.

    When she begged for her life, Poole repeatedly struck her with a tire iron, severing two of her fingers. Scott tried to stop him, prompting Poole turned the tire iron on him, hitting him multiple times in the head and rendering him unconscious, according to police reports.

    Poole grabbed an armful of video games and gaming equipment, and before leaving, he returned to the bedroom, touched the woman’s vaginal area and said ’Thank you.”

    She was jolted awake the next morning by her alarm, and she called 911. Her fiance’s body was found in the hallway of an adjacent bedroom, and she was taken to the hospital. According to police reports, some of the gashes in her head were so deep, her skull was exposed.

    DNA in the victim linked Pool to the crime, along with other evidence, according to court records. The victim later gave birth to a baby boy.

    The Circuit Court jury that convicted Poole in 2005 also voted unanimously to recommend that he be sentenced to death, and Circuit Judge J. Dale Durrance followed that recommendation.

    In 2008, the Florida Supreme Court overturned his death sentence on grounds that prosecutors erred when asking witnesses about Poole’s prior criminal history.

    Three years later, a different jury recommended 11-1 that Poole should return to death row, and Circuit Judge J. Michael Hunter imposed that sentence.

    It’s the 11-1 vote that is getting Poole a new sentencing hearing now.

    When the Florida Supreme Court ruled in January 2016 that the state’s death penalty process was unconstitutional, the state Legislature adopted new standards requiring that jurors must decide whether prosecutors have proven each reason put forth in support of a death sentence. Until now, those decisions had been left up to the judge.

    In subsequent action, Florida legislators also determined that the jury vote on a recommendation of death must be unanimous, which is a higher standard than the simple majority that had been in place.

    Finally, the Supreme Court ruled that these standards were retroactive to June 2002, when a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court put states on notice that juries, not judges, had to determine whether prosecutors proved their reasons for imposing a death penalty.

    As a result, Florida’s death row inmates whose sentences were affirmed by the Florida Supreme Court after June 2002, and whose juries weren’t unanimous, are entitled to a new sentencing hearing.

    Others in Polk County who will be resentenced are Thomas Rigterink, Nelson Serrano and Thomas Woodel.

    Condemned murderer Leon Davis, who set two women on fire during the robbery of a Lake Wales insurance office, won’t be resentenced because the jury voted unanimously for death.

    Tavares Wright waived a jury trial in 2005 for the abduction and murder of two Lakeland cousins in a citrus grove in April 2000. Since Wright waived a jury, he’s not eligible for a new hearing.

    Unrelated to the resentencing matter, Poole has an evidentiary hearing July 10 before Circuit Judge Jalal Harb on a motion for a new trial.

    http://www.theledger.com/news/201707...encing-hearing
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