Gov. Charlie Crist signed a death warrant for Paul Beasley Johnson, a convicted murderer who went on a killing spree after a drug binge 28 years ago.
Johnson, 60, was found guilty of the 1981 murders of a cab driver, a good Samaritan who gave Johnson a ride and a deputy in Lakeland.
After getting high on crystal meth and running out of drugs, Johnson robbed and killed cab driver William Evans in Polk County. He then approached Amy Reid and Darrell Beasley in the parking lot of a restaurant and asked them for a ride to a friend’s house. Johnson asked the pair to pull over in a wooded area so that he could go to the bathroom and then shot and killed Beasley. Reid escaped and called the Polk County Sheriff’s office.
Johnson then started a shoot-out with 2 deputies who responded to Reid’s call. They later found the body of a 3rd deputy, Theron Burnham, in a drainage ditch. Burnham had been shot 3 times.
Johnson is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on Nov. 4.
Practice safe sex.....Marry a death inmate...You'll never get none
Florida Supreme Court Blocks Polk Murderer's Execution
The Florida Supreme Court today blocked the execution of triple murderer Paul Beasley Johnson.
Johnson's lawyer asked the court to halt his scheduled execution for next week because prosecutors hid evidence related to the role of a jailhouse informant in the 28-year-old case.
Martin McClain, a lawyer for Johnson, who was convicted for a 1981 killing spree in Polk County, said the state did not reveal handwritten notes from a prosecutor at the time of Johnson's 2nd trial in 1988 or in a 1997 hearing that showed prosecutors and a sheriff's deputy had contact with an informant who later testified against Johnson.
McClain said prosecutor Hardy Pickard had told James Smith, the informant, to "take notes and keep his ears open" when he talked to Johnson in the county jail.
Smith later testified that Johnson told him he "could play crazy" to beat the charges.
McClain said Smith's testimony undermined defense experts who testified that Johnson was mentally unstable at the time of the murders because of his drug use, calling into question his conviction as well as his death sentence.
In the 1997 hearing, Smith testified that he had been told what to ask Johnson by the prosecutors, while Pickard testified that Smith had acted on his own. McClain said the notes corroborated Smith’s version of the event but were not made known to Johnson's defense lawyers.
Candance Sabella, the chief assistant attorney general who is representing the state in the case, said Smith's testimony was only part of the state's case against Johnson, noting there was other evidence clearly linking him to the murders of Deputy Theron A. Burnam, 27; William Evans, a 54-year-old Winter Haven cab driver; and Darrell Ray Beasley, a 21-year-old Lakeland man who had given Johnson a ride.
Johnson's death warrant, which was signed by Gov. Charlie Crist earlier this month, is somewhat unusual since the death row inmate was still appealing several of his issues in state court, including his allegations about the state’s involvement with the jailhouse informant.
Chief Justice Barbara Pariente noted at the beginning of the 40-minute hearing that the fact the justices would have to review "over several hundred" pages of briefs related to the evidentiary hearing "puts this court in a difficult position” with Johnson's execution scheduled for next Wednesday.
Pariente also questioned the often controversial role informants play in criminal cases.
After hearing arguments that Smith's role was not critical in Johnson's conviction, Pariente said it was an argument the court has heard before.
"Why does the state go and use these kind of people?" she said. "It always ends up having the potential for infecting the trial….That's a frustrating thing for the court."
The court didn't make an immediate ruling.
Johnson's original conviction was overturned on appeal. He was retried, convicted and sentenced to death in 1988.
Gov. Crist signed Johnson's death warrant following Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd’s move to create an online petition urging the governor to carry out the execution.
(source: The Ledger)
Practice safe sex.....Marry a death inmate...You'll never get none
Good to see the Judiciary standing up to what amounts to the politicising of an execution.
I can understand the Sheriff pushing but someone in as senior office as the State Gov really shouldn't be using executions as a political tool.... Perhaps he's trying to give Perry a run for his money!!! Let the judiciary do its thing and that way things are at least "above board".
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it
seriously: I think Obama should have made them liquidate all their assets both business AND PERSONAL so they could climb over their own pile of s***; instead of expecting the American tax payers to do it.
Sept 1, 2019 20:35:38 GMT -5
seriously: Wake up people! Don't you realize that WE THE PEOPLE don't need the rich, THEY NEED US...to do the work that makes them richer so they don't have to clean their own toilets; and all we get is industrialized meats and crops, GMO's, antibiotic resistance.
Sept 1, 2019 20:38:53 GMT -5
seriously: Patented seed crops, running small farmer's out of business, toxic waste, poisoned water, dirty air, deforestation, global warming. By the way, who even wants to live in a GLOBAL GOVERNMENT world with a GLOBAL ECONOMY?
Sept 1, 2019 20:41:57 GMT -5
seriously: America should be more like Switzerland, fix our own 'broken wagon' and let the rest of the world fix theirs...it's not an U.S.A. problem. Screw oil, it pollutes the earth...GO SOLAR, WIND, WATER POWER! Screw the utility companies!
Sept 1, 2019 20:48:33 GMT -5
seriously: That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. Best way to topple the rich...eliminate money and go back to the barter system; let the rich wipe their own bums and clean their own toilets...for a change! No more "Groom of the stool" for them.
Sept 1, 2019 20:51:50 GMT -5
seriously: Then banks and wall street can crash all they want; why should we be dragged down with them.
Sept 1, 2019 20:53:16 GMT -5
alanthony 007: hi, its alanthony; attorney " bartner and solicitor " for Miss Darlie Routier. I was out of town working on a high profile case. I'm back with an unusual part of the Law that will set my client free, so shall we proceed. first, everyone must listen to
Nov 27, 2019 20:52:02 GMT -5
Jeffery Daughtery: Walter Barton (Arkie) has been on Missouri's capital punishment row for many, many years. He has been through 5 trials! Each time is guilty. He'll finally go to hell on May 19, 2020...
Feb 22, 2020 20:23:42 GMT -5
Jeffery Daughtery: This site has a locked ARKIE BOARD shouting out his innocence. Shout it out to the devil that his son will be home soon...
Feb 22, 2020 20:25:41 GMT -5
alanthony 008: why would anyone give a s*** about Barton, he is convicted of killing a nobody, and he,s one too.
Mar 20, 2020 4:19:50 GMT -5
alanthony 008: you know.. two pieces of tailor trash, its a waist were even typing about it .. so off he goes, who cares.
Mar 20, 2020 4:30:41 GMT -5