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Hall v. State

Supreme Court of Florida

June 15, 2017

DONTE JERMAINE HALL, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee. DONTE JERMAINE HALL, Petitioner,
v.
JULIE L. JONES, etc., Respondent.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION, AND IF FILED, DETERMINED.

         An Appeal from the Circuit Court in and for Lake County, Don F. Briggs, Chief Judge - Case No. 352006CF002795BXXXXX And an Original Proceeding - Habeas Corpus

          Ali Andrew Shakoor, Assistant Capital Collateral Regional Counsel, Middle Region, Temple Terrace, Florida, for Appellant/Petitioner

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, Florida; and Tayo Popoola, Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, Florida, for Appellee/Respondent

          PER CURIAM.

         Donte Jermaine Hall appeals the denial of his postconviction motion filed under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.851 and petitions this Court for a writ of habeas corpus. As explained below, we affirm the denial of his postconviction guilt phase claims, deny his habeas guilt phase claims, but vacate his death sentence, and remand for a new penalty phase.[1]

         I. BACKGROUND

         Hall was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2006 murder of Anthony Bernard Blunt. On direct appeal, this Court described the background of this case as follows:

The evidence at trial revealed that on September 8, 2006, 22-year-old Hall learned that his girlfriend, 18-year-old Angel Glenn, had been hired to dance and strip at a house party that night. Angel had been told she would make a lot of money for dancing, and Hall told Angel that he planned to rob the attendees of the party. Hall, along with his twin brother, Dante, and acquaintances Shoo-Shoo and Pig, followed Angel and her two fellow dancers from Orlando to the party in Eustis. At the party, several men were present, drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, and using ecstasy. The girls entered the house, went into a back room, took ecstasy pills, and began changing clothes. Hall stayed in communication with Angel via cell phone while she was in the room, asking her how many men were in the house, whether there were guns in the house, and when the party would begin. After some delay, music began playing and the girls began dancing and stripping.
Within approximately five or ten minutes, Hall entered the house, carrying an assault rifle and saying he was going to "make this choppa dance." Hall was followed by Dante, Shoo-Shoo, and Pig, and all four men were wearing dark clothing and had their faces partially covered. They were carrying handguns and assault rifles. The attendees of the party, as well as the three dancers, gathered in the living room.
The intruders started shooting, and the lights went out. The gunmen demanded money and told the partygoers to get down on the ground, and the partygoers began taking off their jewelry and handing it to the gunmen. The seized items included gold chains, bracelets, watches, and a Gucci bag containing about $1500 in cash.
Eyewitness testimony established that Hall was the first to fire a gun and that Hall did most of the talking. In order to stop the shooting and distract the gunmen, partygoer Keson Evans stated that there was a box of money in the back room. Hall went to the back room but found the door locked; he returned to the living room and fired his gun again, fatally shooting Evans in the head.
The four gunmen were in the house for ten minutes or less. During that time, Willie "Jay" Shelton, William Robinson, Joshua Daniel, Keson Evans, and Anthony Blunt were each shot. Daniel was the first to be shot, and he suffered several gunshot wounds to his hands, thighs, abdomen, and torso. Later, after being rushed to the hospital, Daniel spent eighteen hours in surgery to remove the bullets and treat his approximately twenty entrance and exit wounds, which were very severe but ultimately nonfatal. Shelton was shot once in the stomach and once in the forearm. His injuries caused him to be hospitalized for two years. Robinson was shot in the stomach and in the shoulder. Blunt was fatally shot in his chest, right thigh, and left hand. Evans was shot in the face and the right thigh and died as a result.
The gunmen fled the house immediately after Evans was shot. The three women then left the house together with Angel driving them back to Orlando. Hall called Angel, asking her whether the women were okay and telling them to calm down. Hall and Angel arranged to meet at a gas station on a major road leading from Eustis back to Orlando. At the gas station, Hall got out of Dante's car and into Angel's car, carrying a gun and stolen property from the robbery. During the car ride, Hall stated that he was angry because he did not get enough money and the robbery did not go as he had planned. Angel dropped Hall off at his mother's house, where he was living at the time.
The next morning, Angel went to Hall's mother's house to see him at his request. Twin brother Dante and Hall's mother were also home. Dante was pulling jewelry from the robbery out of a Gucci bag, and the twins discussed what they would do with the jewelry, how much it was worth, and how they would make money off of it. Hall gave some of the jewelry to Dante's girlfriend and instructed her to pawn it. Some of the robbery victims later identified jewelry that had been pawned, and Angel identified the same jewelry as jewelry she had seen in Hall's possession at his mother's house the day after the robbery.
The following day, Dante went to the hotel where Hall, Angel, and Angel's one-year-old son were staying and discussed with Hall the logistics of pawning the jewelry from the robbery. The twin brothers left the hotel together with most of the jewelry. Hall also gave Angel a few of pieces of jewelry to pawn, for which she received $1, 000 that she then gave to Hall. Over the next several days, Hall made phone calls to Shoo-Shoo and Pig to discuss the jewelry and how the proceeds would be divided.
Angel was soon arrested for pawning the stolen jewelry and was in jail for several weeks, during which time she lied to police about the events of September 9 because she was frightened for her family's wellbeing. Meanwhile, one of the other dancers from the party, Nikita Jackson, told police what had happened the night of the robbery and murders. ...

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