Exonerated from Death Row, men will ask Gov. DeSantis to cancel scheduled execution

Florida's execution chamber. Wikimedia photo.

Three men sentenced to death but later exonerated will appeal to Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday to reconsider the death warrant he has signed for James Dailey, who would become the fourth person executed in Florida since the governor took office in January.

The letter compares the circumstances of Dailey’s conviction to their own, which were overturned because of factors including flimsy evidence and prosecutorial misconduct.

“The same types of evidence that led each of us to be exonerated are also present in James’ case,” the men write in an excerpt of their letter released Monday. “The only difference allowing us to be spared from execution while James is set to be killed is whether or not a judge and jury has had the opportunity to review all the evidence.”

The exonerees – Juan Melendez, Herman Lindsey, and Derrick Jamison – planned to appear at the governor’s office in the Florida Capitol at 2 p.m. to present their letter. That document also cites the cases of Ralph Wright and Joaquin Martinez, according to a news release from Witness to Innocence, an organization that works with exonerated death row survivors.

DeSantis signed Dailey’s death warrant on Sept. 26, scheduling the execution for Nov. 7. Dailey was sentenced in the 1985 murder of Shelly Boggio, 14, in Pinellas County. She’d been beaten, choked, stabbed multiple times, and drowned. Witness to Innocence argues the case lacked eyewitness or physical evidence linking Dailey to the crime. Testimony by jailhouse informants was unreliable, the organization said. It added that Dailey’s roommate, Jack Pearcy, has confessed to murdering Boggio.

“For every nine executions, one death row prisoner has been exonerated. In Florida, the stats are even worse,” Witness to Innocence argued. “Florida has executed 99 people since executions restarted in 1976 while 29 people on death row were exonerated – nearly one exoneration for every three executions.”

Michael Moline
Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here