Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jury almost set in Pasco death sentence retrial

DADE CITY — Circuit Judge Lynn Tepper needs 14 jurors to decide whether Lawrence Joey Smith should live or die for the botched 1999 execution of two teens that one of the victims survived.

The state and defense agreed on 10 jurors Tuesday afternoon before court was cut short by threatening storms. The judge recessed early so potential jurors could get home before heavy rains hit.

Court will resume today at 9 a.m. Two more jurors and two alternates need to be picked. If that's done today, opening arguments will begin soon afterward. The defendant is representing himself with the help of court-appointed counsel.

Smith is the gunman and co-defendant Faunce Pearce the accused mastermind of the scheme to kill Robert Crawford, 17, and Stephen Tuttle, 16, for losing a drug dealer's money.

Both were driven to an isolated stretch of Land O'Lakes. Smith killed Crawford with a gunshot to the head. But Tuttle survived his wound.

Smith and Pearce were both convicted and sentenced to die for the plot. Smith's death sentence was overturned in 2004 because of judicial error but his conviction remains.

Pearce's conviction and thus his death sentence were overturned in 2006 because of attorney error.

The question before Smith's jury in this death penalty phase retrial is: Should the 30-year-old be sentenced to life in prison or death for first-degree murder and attempted murder?

A majority vote of the jury will decide his fate.

Jury almost set in Pasco death sentence retrial 02/26/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 8:58am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Early estimates peg Hurricane Irma damage at as much as $65B

    Banking

    The damage totals from Hurricane Irma are still being tallied, but early numbers are in: As of Tuesday, the storm is estimated to have caused between $42.5 billion and $65 billion of damage. That's according to a Tuesday release by Irvine, Calif.-based analytics company CoreLogic.

    Hurricane Irma is estimated to have caused up to $65 billion in damage, said analytics company CoreLogic. Pictured is 
Hermilo Munoz Castillo as wades down a flooded street to check on his home in southern Collier County, Fla. after Hurricane Irma passed. | [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Port Tampa Bay makes public/private commitment for $60 million expansion project

    Business

    TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay approved a public-private partnership agreement with four other entities to divvy up who will pay for a $60 million widening and extension of the Big Bend Channel.

    Port Tampa Bay approved a participation agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Transportation, Tampa Electric Company and Mosaic Company at the port's monthly board meeting on  Tuesday. Port Tampa Bay President & CEO Paul Anderson signs the agreement as Ram Kancharla; Port Tampa Bay's vice president of planning & development, Brandon Burch; project manager at United States Army Corps of Engineers, Lois Moore; of Alcalde and Fay and Charles Klug; Port Tampa Bay principal counsel, and Tim Murphy; deputy district engineer of the Army Corps., looks on. [Company handout]
  3. 7.1 magnitude quake kills more than 40, collapses buildings in Mexico

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocked central Mexico on Tuesday, killing dozens of people, collapsing buildings and scattering rubble on streets less than two weeks after another quake left 90 dead in the country's south.

    Rescue workers and volunteers search a building that collapsed after an earthquake in downtown Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. A powerful earthquake jolted central Mexico on Tuesday, causing buildings to sway sickeningly in the capital on the anniversary of a 1985 quake that did major damage. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  4. Hurricane Maria slams Dominica, now takes aim at Puerto Rico

    Hurricanes

    ROSEAU, Dominica — Dominica's leader sent out an emotional plea for help as Hurricane Maria smashed into the Caribbean island causing "mind-boggling" devastation, but an ominous silence followed …

    [National Hurricane Center]
  5. Tampa Bay concert venues offer deals, take donations for Hurricane Irma victims

    Blogs

    After a week-plus of concert cancellations brought on by Hurricane Irma, the Tampa Bay music scene is ready to get back to work. And Irma is still front and center in everyone's minds.

    Victor Wainwright