FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
from the Circuit Court for Hernando County, Stephen E. Toner,
S. Purdy, Public Defender, and Joseph Chloupek, Assistant
Public Defender, Daytona Beach, for Appellant.
Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Douglas T. Squire,
Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, for Appellee.
Spring Mason III was sentenced to five consecutive life
sentences after a jury convicted him of three counts of
premeditated first-degree murder (Counts 1-3), one count of
attempted first-degree murder (Count 4), and one count of
burglary of a dwelling with a firearm (Count 5). Mason
appeals his convictions as well as the trial court's
denial of his Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800(b)(2)
motion to correct illegal sentence. We affirm Mason's
convictions without further discussion, but reverse the order
denying Mason's motion to correct illegal sentence and
remand for resentencing.
shot four individuals at Tracy Taylor's home in
Brooksville. The evening's events involved a dispute
between Mason and one of the victims, Ralph Peyton.
Initially, Mason shot Ralph and Gabriel Taylor in the home,
striking both numerous times. Mason then walked outside the
home and shot Tarasha Townsend in the head. Mason reentered
the home and shot Jannie Taylor.
injured by the earlier gun shots, Gabriel fled the home but
was pursued by Mason. Mason caught up with Gabriel down the
street and shot him several more times. Ralph, Tarasha, and
Jannie died from their injuries.
his convictions, Mason received an enhanced sentence pursuant
to the habitual felony offender ("HFO")
statute on Counts 4 and 5, and the trial court
ordered his sentences to run consecutively. Mason
subsequently moved to correct illegal sentence, but the trial
court denied his motion. On appeal, Mason argues that the
trial court could not have imposed consecutive sentences on
Counts 4 and 5 because those sentences were enhanced through
the HFO statute and occurred during the same criminal
a defendant's sentences for multiple crimes committed
during a single criminal episode [are] enhanced through
habitual felony offender statutes, the total penalty [can]
not be further increased by ordering that the sentences run
consecutively." Claycomb v. State, 142 So.3d
916, 917 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014) (citing Hale v. State,
630 So.2d 521 (Fla. 1993)). "When determining whether
the offenses arose from the same criminal episode, the court
must consider '1) whether separate victims are involved;
2) whether the crimes occurred in separate locations; and 3)
whether there has been a temporal break between the
incidents.'" Hartman v. State, 92 So.3d
893, 895 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012) (quoting Teague v.
State, 26 So.3d 616, 618 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009)).
Accordingly, if Mason committed Counts 4 and 5 during the
same criminal episode, the trial court could not sentence him
to consecutive sentences on those counts because the
sentences were enhanced through the HFO statute.
undisputed that Counts 4 and 5 involved different victims;
Tracy was the victim of the burglary of a dwelling with a
firearm, and Gabriel was the victim of the attempted murder.
However, regarding the other two applicable factors, we find
that the trial court erroneously concluded that the crimes
occurred at different locations and times. Mason committed
the burglary when he entered Tracy's home and shot Ralph
and Gabriel, which was the same time that he committed the
attempted murder of Gabriel. The trial court found a spatial
and temporal break based on the second shooting of Gabriel,
which occurred several blocks from the home and followed the
shootings of Tarasha and Jannie. However, the State did not
charge two counts of the attempted murder of Gabriel and
presented the evidence of Mason's attempted murder as a
continuing event. That theory is supported by the record,
which demonstrates that Mason pursued Gabriel immediately
after discovering that Gabriel survived Mason's initial
attack. Thus, because the burglary and attempted murder were
committed at the same location and at the same time, we find
that Mason committed the crimes during the same criminal
episode. Accordingly, the trial court improperly imposed
consecutive sentences for Counts 4 and 5.
IN PART; REMANDED for the imposition of concurrent life
sentences for Counts 4 and 5.