NEW PORT RICHEY — The state's highest court upheld the first-degree murder conviction and death sentence of a man who killed a 16-year-old hitchhiker in 2002.
Phillup Alan Partin, 46, picked up Joshan Ashbrook on July 31, 2002, in his maroon pickup. Ashbrook lived with her family in New Port Richey and was a habitual drug user and runaway.
Her body was found the next morning in some brush off Shady Hills Road. She had been stabbed twice in her right arm, five times in her left hand and six times in her face. Partin's DNA was found in a cut on her thumb.
He fled Florida and was arrested more than a year later in North Carolina.
After the 2008 trial, Judge William Webb called the crime "especially heinous" and followed a jury's recommendation to send Partin to death row.
He appealed, saying the judge erred in denying several motions and in admitting a DNA expert's testimony, as well as in not letting jurors see the indictment or have it read to them. Partin also alleged the judge failed to give jurors proper instructions during the penalty phase and that the death sentence didn't fit the crime.
"None of these claims warrant relief," the state Supreme Court wrote in a ruling issued Thursday.