William J. Cormier III, Appellant,
State of Florida, Appellee.
final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion
under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Escambia County. W. Joel
William J. Cormier III, pro se, Appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
Appellant, William J. Cormier III, appeals from an order
denying his postconviction motion brought pursuant to Florida
Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850. For the reasons discussed
below, we affirm.
Appellant was indicted by a grand jury for first-degree
murder. The evidence presented at trial reflected that the
victim was last heard from on August 27, 2012, when he called
a family friend, Patricia Burke, from an unfamiliar number
and made plans to meet her at 1:45 p.m. When she arrived at
his home at 1:15 p.m., the Appellant was leaving the house.
The Appellant told her that the victim was not home, his
plans had changed, and he had been delayed. Ms. Burke
expressed concern for the victim because he had been in poor
health when she spoke to him. After the Appellant left, Ms.
Burke waited at the home, hoping to see the victim. The
Appellant called her less than ten minutes later from the
same number the victim had called from that morning. He told
her that he had spoken to the victim, who would not be home
for hours, and Ms. Burke should go home.
evidence reflected that the victim had a collection of
Magic: the Gathering cards worth between $50, 000
and $100, 000. Some of these cards were signed by the creator
of the game. In particular, he had a Black Lotus card, which
was described as "the number one card you can
purchase," as it was an out-of-print card with a low
print run. He also had rare cards such as a Time Walk and a
weekend after the victim's disappearance, the Appellant
attended a sci-fi convention in Atlanta, where he approached
a pair of vendors with a valuable Magic: the
Gathering card collection. The Appellant sold them some
of the cards for $5, 844. His twin brother, Christopher
Cormier, was present during the negotiations, but did not
participate or receive any money. After the convention, the
Appellant, who did not own a car and had been driving a
rental car provided by his father, paid cash for a Chrysler
September 3, 2012, the Appellant rented a U-Haul and storage
unit in Florida and started emptying the victim's home.
He hired a yard service to work on the yard and haul some
items from inside the house to a landfill. He told the owner
of the yard service that he owned the house and his renters
had moved out. When a curious neighbor stopped by, he told
the neighbor that the victim was moving in with him. While
the Appellant was at the house, his brother, Christopher,
injured his arm trying to push open a window, and the
Appellant took him to the hospital. The Appellant returned
without his brother and continued moving the victim's
belongings. The Appellant paid the yard crew and arranged for
people to clean the house. He also paid the cleaning crew.
September 6, 2012, the Appellant emptied the storage unit.
The Appellant's brother was present at the time, but
unable to help due to his injured arm. The Appellant did not
tell the business that he was emptying the unit. It was
discovered empty and unlocked during a walkthrough of the
September 7, 2012, Ms. Burke returned to the victim's
house. There were no cars in his driveway, and the house was
empty except for an old TV. The victim's father reported
his son missing to law enforcement.
the Appellant arrived at his father's house in Georgia,
driving a U-Haul. When he opened the back of the truck, his
father noticed a horrible smell, like there was a dead animal
inside. The Appellant told his father that a dog had died in
Pensacola. Subsequently, the Appellant's father saw a
number of Magic: the Gathering cards in the house.
He also noticed his nephew digging in the backyard.
September 8th or 9th, the Appellant helped make a barbecue
pit in his father's backyard. He bought two-by-fours,
stakes, cement buckets, and a mixer for the project. He built
the frame and helped pour the concrete. He testified at trial
that he had to do most of the work because his brother had
hurt his hand.
September 10, 2012, the Appellant met the two vendors from
the sci-fi convention at a restaurant in Tennessee. They were
meant to meet in Kentucky, but the Appellant's car broke
down, so the location was changed. The Appellant and the
vendors spent two to three hours haggling over Magic: the
Gathering cards while Christopher watched and left
periodically to smoke. The vendors paid $12, 021 in cash for
the cards, ...