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Allen v. State

Supreme Court of Florida

March 24, 1994

Jerome ALLEN, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Florida, Appellee.

Rehearings Denied May 23, 1994.

James B. Gibson, Public Defender and Christopher S. Quarles, Asst. Public Defender, Daytona Beach, and Professor Victor L.

Page 495

Streib, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH, for appellant.

Robert A. Butterworth, Atty. Gen. and Kellie A. Nielan, Asst. Atty. Gen., Daytona Beach, for appellee.

Howard Babb, Public Defender and Billy H. Nolas, Asst. Public Defender, and Julie D. Naylor, Ocala, amicus curiae for the Fifth Judicial Circuit Public Defender.

Mark Evan Olive, Tallahassee, amicus curiae for Children First Partners.

PER CURIAM.

Jerome Allen appeals from a judgment imposing a sentence of death upon him. We have jurisdiction. [1]

On December 10, 1990, Stephen DuMont was robbed and wounded by a shotgun while working at a gas station in Titusville. He did not immediately lose consciousness and, before his death, was able to describe his assailants and the car they were driving. The automobile's description was similar to that of a car later reported stolen. The woman who owned the stolen car also reported that a light bulb on her porch had been unscrewed, and deputies were able to recover a fingerprint there.

Deputies found the stolen automobile early the next morning, stuck in the soft sand of an orange grove. A white male later identified as Brian Patrick Kennedy was lying in the front seat of the car. The steering column was damaged in a way that suggested hot-wiring. Two sets of footprints trailed off from the car into the orange grove. A canine unit tracked one set of footprints to a house where Eugene Roberson lived. The print from one of Roberson's fingers matched the one found at the porch where the light bulb had been unscrewed.

Further examination of the interior of the stolen vehicle revealed a palm print matching that of Jerome Allen, the defendant in the proceedings below. At the time of the murder, Allen was fifteen years of age.

On December 11, 1990, deputies questioned Allen after reading him his rights. At one point Allen asked what would happen to someone present at a robbery who did not actually pull the trigger.

Later, deputies placed Allen in a holding cell near Eugene Roberson. A video camera and hidden microphone recorded everything the two did and said. At this point, Roberson began telling Allen about his own interrogation. Roberson said he had told the deputies everything, including that he had pulled the trigger. Roberson said he told deputies that Allen had stolen the car. During the course of this conversation, both Allen and Roberson incriminated themselves and admitted their involvement in the murder.

Deputies later searched Allen's home. There they found shotgun shells, ammunition, and a sawed-off shotgun. However, experts could not say with certainty whether ...


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