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Oliver v. State

Supreme Court of Florida

April 6, 2017



         An Appeal from the Circuit Court in and for Brevard County, Robert A. Wohn, Jr., Judge - Case No. 052009CF043923AXXXXX

          James S. Purdy, Public Defender, and O.H. Eaton, Jr., and Nancy Ryan, Assistant Public Defenders, Seventh Judicial Circuit, Daytona Beach, Florida, for Appellant

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, Florida; and Stacey E. Kircher, Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, Florida, for Appellee

          Robert C. Josefsberg of Podhurst Orseck, P.A., Miami, Florida; Robert G. Kerrigan of Kerrigan, Estess, Rankin, McLeod & Thompson, LLP, Pensacola, Florida; Karen M. Gottlieb of Florida Center for Capital Representation, Miami, Florida; and Sonya Rudenstine, Gainesville, Florida, for Amici Curiae Justice Harry Lee Anstead, Judge Rosemary Barkett, Martha Barnett, Talbot D'Alemberte, Hank Coxe, Justice Gerald Kogan, Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Florida Capital Resource Center, and Florida Center for Capital Representation

          PER CURIAM.

         This case is before the Court on appeal from two convictions of first-degree murder and two sentences of death. We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(1), Fla. Const. Terence Tobias Oliver was convicted in Brevard County for the murders of Krystal Pinson and Andrea Richardson. Oliver now pursues the direct appeal of his convictions and sentences, which are subject to automatic review by this Court. For the reasons explained below, we affirm the trial court's judgments of conviction and sentences of death. We first set forth the facts of this case and then address Oliver's claims on direct appeal, which include the assertion that Oliver is entitled to relief under Hurst v. Florida (Hurst v. Florida), 136 S.Ct. 616 (2016). We conclude by evaluating the sufficiency of the evidence used to convict Oliver and the proportionality of Oliver's death sentences.


         Oliver and Pinson had been dating since approximately December 2006. Although Oliver described his relationship with Pinson as a "side" relationship, the two lived together off and on during the span of their relationship. Sometime between late May and July 22, 2009, Oliver called Leander Watkins, his mechanic and a mutual friend of the couple, trying to get in touch with Pinson. Oliver was concerned Pinson was cooperating with the police regarding an outstanding warrant for his arrest for a prior crime in Volusia County. Oliver asked Watkins if he had seen Pinson, stating, "She's going to make me do something to her."

         Oliver and Richardson had attended school together in Titusville. Growing up, Oliver would walk from school on the path next to Richardson's house. More recently, in 2009, Oliver purchased marijuana at Richardson's home, which was at the end of W.C. Stafford Street, near a cul de sac.

         During the early morning hours of July 22, 2009, David Pouncey and Eric Edwards stood near the road on W.C. Stafford Street. Richardson's house was on the opposite side of the street, approximately six or seven houses down the street from Pouncey's house. Pouncey remembered seeing a person crossing the cul de sac at the end of the street, but he was not alarmed. Then, coming from the cul de sac at the end of the street, he heard dogs barking and banging noises as if someone were banging a stick against a metal trashcan or knocking something against the door of Richardson's doghouse. Richardson was known to have numerous dogs in his yard, and at least one inside the house. The banging noises continued for approximately twenty to thirty seconds.

         Two or three minutes later, Pouncey and Edwards noticed a person running from the direction of the cul de sac. A few seconds later, they noticed a second person walking in the same direction. The only physical characteristic Edwards could see was what appeared to be a pair of Timberland boots, worn by the second person. Pouncey recalls one of the individuals having dread-styled hair. Neither Pouncey nor Edwards could identify the individuals seen fleeing the area that night.

         At approximately 2:25 a.m., as Edwards prepared to depart W.C. Stafford Street, Pouncey walked down to Richardson's home to check on him. Pouncey followed Edwards in calling out for Richardson, but he received no answer. Inside the house, Pouncey and Edwards discovered Richardson's body in a fetal position near the side door of the house. Pouncey nudged Richardson's body a few times before pushing him over and finding him covered in blood. Pouncey walked away from Richardson's body and called out for Pinson, whose car was parked outside.

         Pinson had been staying with Richardson. As Pouncey walked out of the dark master bedroom, he tripped over Pinson's body, which was positioned as if she had tried to get under the bed. Both men ran from the house. Pouncey and Edwards ran back to Pouncey's house and told a family member to call the police. Pouncey called Richardson's brother, William Davis, who also had been living at the residence where the victims were discovered. Davis arrived and entered the home approximately three to four minutes before the police arrived.

         On the night of July 22, and the morning of July 23, 2009, Oliver visited Felicia Whaley-his former roommate-and her boyfriend in Satellite Beach. Oliver slept in Whaley's guest bedroom. The next afternoon, Whaley was notified of the murders of Richardson and Pinson. Whaley woke Oliver and told him to get ready to leave because she had to go to work and needed time to take Oliver wherever he needed to go. When Whaley woke Oliver, he seemed "normal." After Oliver finished a phone call, Whaley noticed that Oliver was crying. Oliver asked Whaley to drop him off at a Walgreens store in Melbourne so he could meet with some friends. Whaley noticed a vehicle containing two women who were there to meet Oliver.

         The two women were Sheena Camiscioli and Chelsea Wilson, who arrived in Camiscioli's Ford Explorer. Oliver got into the back seat of the vehicle. He did not have any items with him at the time. Camiscioli drove and Oliver instructed her where to go. After dropping Wilson off at a friend's house, Camiscioli drove Oliver to a duplex where Oliver's mother's truck was backed into the yard. At the duplex, Camiscioli stayed in the Explorer while Oliver went into the house. Oliver returned with baskets of clothes and shoes, which he put into the back of the Explorer. Oliver got into the passenger seat and the two then went back to pick up Wilson.

         Camiscioli then drove to a house in Cocoa. When they arrived, Oliver retrieved a shotgun from the back of Camiscioli's Explorer and entered the house. Thereafter, he exited the house with a handgun that he put into the backseat with Wilson. When Wilson appeared to be afraid of the weapon, Oliver wrapped it in a bag. While at the house in Cocoa, Oliver asked Camiscioli if he could drive. With Camiscioli in the passenger seat and Wilson in the back seat, Oliver drove to a lake inside of an apartment complex, slowed the car down, and threw the gun out of the driver's side window into the lake. Camiscioli asked him why he threw the gun out of the window but Oliver did not respond.

         They then drove to a Motel 6 in Cocoa, where Camiscioli rented a motel room for Oliver for the weekend because Oliver did not have identification. Camiscioli and Wilson returned to Titusville for the evening. The police contacted Camiscioli that night looking for Oliver, but she told them she did not know where he was. The next afternoon, Camiscioli and Wilson returned to the Motel 6. When Camiscioli saw Oliver that day, he was wearing a braided wig. Oliver barely spoke to them.

         Camiscioli was curious as to why Oliver was being distant so she walked up to his room, alone. Oliver was sitting on the bed in the hotel room. When Camiscioli asked him if he was okay, considering Pinson's recent death, Oliver began to cry. Oliver told Camiscioli that Pinson "was on a lot of his paperwork and he was tired." Camiscioli recalled that Oliver began to cry even more when he "mentioned that he was tired of the domestic violence and [Pinson] always calling the police on him." While crying, Oliver told Camiscioli that he killed Pinson in Richardson's bed, and he shot Richardson because Richardson was there and was running out of the back door. Oliver told Camiscioli that law enforcement was looking for him about the murders, but he was not concerned because Richardson sold drugs at the house so the murders would look like the result of a robbery. Oliver also told Camiscioli he did not know why the police thought he did it and that there was no evidence that he did it. The conversation ended when Camiscioli turned and left the room. She did not contact the police because, based on what Oliver had just told her, she was afraid. However, she did tell Wilson.

         The next day, the police came to the Motel 6 looking for Oliver. Camiscioli and Wilson drove to the police station to give a statement. At the police station, Camiscioli contacted Tyrrell Oliver-her boyfriend and Oliver's brother-and notified him that Oliver confessed to her and she was a witness in the case.

         On July 28, 2009, Oliver contacted Watkins stating he needed some money. Watkins contacted law enforcement to report Oliver's whereabouts. While still in contact with law enforcement, Watkins agreed to wire the money to a supermarket in Cocoa and when Oliver arrived, he was arrested. He was wearing a dread-styled wig at the time.

         The next day, Camiscioli directed law enforcement to the lake where Oliver had disposed of the murder weapon. The Brevard County Sheriff's Office Dive Team retrieved a .40 caliber firearm and magazine, wrapped in the same packaging that Wilson and Camiscioli had previously observed. On July 30, 2009, police went to the residence in Cocoa and recovered the shotgun that Oliver had taken there. Oliver admitted to having possessed the shotgun.

         Medical Examiner Testimony

         At trial, the cause of Richardson's death was determined to be multiple gunshot wounds to his torso and extremities. The medical examiner identified three entry wounds and multiple reentry wounds. Richardson was shot in the right shoulder and lower right chest and had a graze wound to his scalp on the left side of his forehead. The medical examiner also stated that two of the bullets found could have possibly reentered Richardson's body through his left elbow and left wrist. All three shots were fired from at least three feet away. He could not determine the order of the shots.

         The cause of Pinson's death was multiple gunshot wounds to her torso and extremities. The medical examiner identified eight gunshot wounds to Pinson's body. The bullets entered her body through her chest, right arm, mid-back, left lower back, right buttocks, and left foot. The order of the shots could not be determined. At least three of the shots were fired from within three to four feet. Pinson also had minor abrasions below her chin and above her right knee and a superficial cut over her left knee. Pinson also had a "very superficial" ankle injury. The medical examiner stated that none of Pinson's injuries would have resulted in her losing consciousness instantaneously. The medical examiner could not determine how long it took before Pinson actually died. He only indicated that it could have taken "seconds to minutes." The medical examiner stated that, even if Pinson were asleep, she would still have felt pain until she lost consciousness and that, once Pinson lost consciousness, she would not have regained it.

         Winchester .40 caliber shell casings were located near Richardson's and Pinson's bodies. There were two bullet holes in the bed sheet and the mattress, one at the top and one in the middle. There was also a bullet hole in the box spring and another underneath a sofa bed in the same bedroom. There were no signs of forced entry into the home. The .40 caliber Smith and Wesson High Point model pistol used in the murders holds eleven bullets, ten in the magazine, and one in the chamber. As long as there is a bullet in the chamber or the magazine, the gun can continuously be fired without being reloaded. All of the shell casings and all of the bullets in evidence were fired from this gun.

         On March 16, 2012, the jury found Oliver guilty of first-degree murder for the killings of Pinson and Richardson. The jury also found Oliver guilty of armed burglary of a dwelling with discharge of a firearm causing death. The trial court additionally found Oliver guilty of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The trial court sentenced Oliver to death on both counts of first-degree murder. Oliver was sentenced to life without parole on the burglary charge. On the charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, Oliver was sentenced to five years in prison. On June 15, 2012, the trial court followed the jury's unanimous recommendation and imposed two death sentences for the first-degree murder convictions.


         On appeal, Oliver raises four issues, which we address in turn: (1) the trial court abused its discretion in admitting testimony regarding a shotgun that was not used to commit the killings and allowing the shotgun to be published to the jury; (2) the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion for mistrial where the prosecutor argued lack of remorse; (3) the trial court erred in finding that the murder of Richardson was committed in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner; and (4) Florida's death sentencing scheme is unconstitutional pursuant to Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002).

         Introduction of the Shotgun

         As his first claim, Oliver argues that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting testimony regarding the shotgun and in allowing the shotgun to be published to the jury when ...

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