These men represent some of the most vicious killers in Tampa Bay history. From execution-style killings, to murder-for-hire plots and no shortage of brutal, hands-on killings that will give you chills, here is a county-by-county breakdown of the 46 men Tampa Bay area courts have sentenced to die.
Pasco County death row inmates
1 of 6John Bowers swore he wouldn’t call the police and report the robbery. Alvin Morton shot him in the back of the neck anyway. The gun jammed when he tried to shoot Bowers’ mother, Madeline Weisser, so he tried to stab her. The knife wouldn’t go in, so an accomplice stepped on it. It was January 1992. Morton took Bowers’ pinky finger as a souvenir. Morton was convicted of both murders and sentenced to death on March 18, 1994.
2 of 6Carl Puiatti and an accomplice kidnapped Sharilyn Ritchie from a Bradenton shopping mall in August 1983. They robbed her and left her in an orange grove in Dade City. Then they decided she needed to die. The men drove back and Puiatti shot her twice and drove away. She was still standing so they drove back and shot her again. She wouldn’t drop. It took three passes to kill her. Puiatti later confessed to kidnapping, robbing and murdering Ritchie. He was sentenced to death on May 4, 1984.
3 of 6In July 2002, 13 years after being convicted of second-degree murder for killing a male client, prostitute Phillup Partin picked up 16-year-old hitchhiker Joshan Ashbrook. They swam and fished and then he stangled her and broke her neck. Partin was a fugitive for a year before being tracked to North Carolina. He was sentenced to death in December of 2008.
4 of 6After robbing Rama Sharma’s convenience store in June of 1987, Samuel Derrick wanted to shut the man up. So, he stabbed him 31 times and stole $360 from his pocket. Sharma’s body was found in a wooded path near the store, 20 feet from a pile of his blood. Derrick was sentenced to death in July of 1988.
5 of 6A neighbor found the body of Ann Parlato in her New Port Richey home on Sept. 22, 2010. She had been raped and murdered. Five days later, John Sexton was arrested for the crime. Pasco County Sheriff Bob White said it was on of the worst his team had ever seen. Sexton was sentenced to death on Dec. 13, 2013.
6 of 6When his ex-girlfriend wouldn’t talk to him on the morning of June 10, 1986, Dominick Occhicone left and came back with a gun. The woman’s father, Raymond Artzner, confronted Occhicone outside and was shot and killed. The woman and her daughter fled the home, but her mother, Martha Artzner was still inside when Occhicone got in. He shot her four times, killing her. He was sentenced to death in Nov. of 1987.
Pinellas County death row inmates
1 of 19Alphonso Cave was convicted of first-degree murder, then sentenced to die on Dec. 10 1982. He began his sentence one week later. He was found guilty in the April 1982 murder of 18-year-old Julia Slater, who was abducted, then stabbed and shot, when Cave and three accomplices robbed a convenience store in Stuart.
2 of 19In February 1998, Anthony LaMarca was sentenced to death for the killing his stepdaughter’s husband, Kevin Flynn in 1995. He’s been on death row since March 10, 1998.
3 of 19On February 5, 2010, Craig Wall stabbed to death Laura Taft. The month before, he had killed their 5-week-old baby. He was sentenced to die on June 3, 2016, a penalty he repeatedly stated he had hoped for. “Woohoo!” he said as he was sentenced.
4 of 19Kenneth Dessaure called 911 to report he had found the body of Cindy Riedweg, his neighbor, on Feb. 9, 1999. She had been raped and killed. Examiners found 53 wounds on her body. Dessaure was convicted of the killing and sentenced to die on Oct. 26, 2001.
5 of 19While serving a 57-year sentence for a 1994 kidnapping, Franklin Floyd was found guilty in September 2002 for the 1989 murder of 18-year-old Mons Venus dancer Cheryl Ann Commesso. She disappeared in 1989 and remained so until her remains were foun along Interstate 275 in 1995. Floyd was sentenced in November 2002.
6 of 19In May 1983, Earl Baughman, 97, hired Jeffrey Muehleman, then 18, as a helper. After a few days of work, Muehleman killed Baughman as the man lay in bed by first beating him with a cast iron pan, then attempting to strangle him and finally suffocating him by forcing the plastic cover of a newspaper down his throat. He was sentenced do die on June 8, 1984 and his death warrant signed in 1989. However, legal battles led to his resentencing in 2003.
7 of 19ID PhotoIn June of 1990, Jeffrey Atwater was sentenced to death for the killing of Ken Smith the summer prior. Smith, 64, told Atwater he’d stop lending him money. Atwater looked for Smith for at least three days before beating him and stabbing in more than 40 times in his St. Petersburg apartment.
8 of 19Richard Rhodes was convicted and sentenced to death in September 1985 for the murder of Karen Nieradka in February 1984. Nieradka was found in debris from the demolition of the Sunset Hotel in Clearwater one month after she had died by strangulation. He was resentenced in March 1992.
9 of 19Eric Stanton’s body was found in his cab on Sept. 1, 2004. He’d been stabbed in the back, had his throat slit, bound with a seat belt and stuffed in the trunk by Genghis Kocaker who then set the cab on fire. Stanton, still alive, was able to push his way into the cab, where he died of smoke inhalation. Kocaker was sentenced to death on Dec. 19, 2009.
10 of 19Jason Walton and three accomplices were behind what became known as the “High Point murders.” ON the morning of June 18, 1982, Walton and the three others broke into the house of 26-year-old Steven Fridella to look for money and cocaine. The bound Fridella and two other men and killed them with shotgun blasts. Walton was arrested six months later and sentenced to die on March 14, 1984.
11 of 19In November 1995, Robert Gordon was sentenced to die in the murder-for-hire plot to kill Louis Davidson. Gordon and an accomplice had been hired by Davidson’s estranged wife. Davidson was found beaten and bound, drowned in a bloody bathtub on Jan. 25, 1994.
12 of 19In October 1982, Milo Rose was seen lifting a concrete block over his head and slamming it onto the head of his girlfriend’s 28-year-old son, Robert Richardson, killing him. He was sentenced to death on July 8, 1983.
13 of 19In November 1995, Meryl McDonald was sentenced to die in the murder-for-hire plot to kill Louis Davidson. McDonald and an accomplice had been hired by Davidson’s estranged wife. Davidson was found beaten and bound, drowned in a bloody bathtub on Jan. 25, 1994.
14 of 19Troy Merck was visiting Florida from North Carolina when he drunkenly picked a fight outside a bar in October 1991. James Newton wouldn’t take the bait, so Merck stabbed him repeatedly in the back and neck. Merck was sentenced to death on Dec. 10, 1993 for Newton’s murder.
15 of 19Richard and Karla Van Dusen met William Deparvine in late 2003 to sell him their vintage Chevy pickup. When the three left to complete the purchase, Deparvine shot the couple in the head and robbed them. He was sentenced to die in January of 2006 and later sued the estate of Richard Van Dusen for ownership of the truck.
16 of 19In the water near Indian Rocks Beach on the morning of May 6, 1985, the body of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio was found floating naked. She’d been stabbed, strangled and drowned. James Dailey was sentenced to die for killing Shelly on Aug. 7, 1987. Dailey had picked up the girl, her twin sister and a friend as they hitchhiked the night before. He took them to bars and a friend’s house before the other girls returned home. Dailey and a friend raped and killed Boggio before dumping her body in the Gulf of Mexico.
17 of 19A single dollar bill in an open wallet and a pool of blood surrounded the body of Orville Landis when a neighbor checked on him. He’d been beaten, stabbed and slashed across the neck, back and chest. His throat was collapsed. He was conscious for each strike, but too drunk to defend himself. In January 1987, Mark Davis, a homeless man who was helping Landis move into an apartment, was sentenced to die for committing the crime.
18 of 19Derrick Johnson and a friend called a cab after robbing a couple in their hotel room on March 21, 1983. The cab driver, Jeffery Songer, became suspicious and radioed in a distress call. When police and others showed up, he was found 70 feet from the car, dead after taking a .38 caliber bullet to the back. Witnesses identified Derrick Smith as the man who shot Songer. He was sentenced to die on nov. 29, 1983.
19 of 19In August 2008, Khadafy Mullens shot and killed two men at Central Avenue Food Mart, store owner Mohammad Uddin and customer Ronald Hayworth. Another man, Albert Barton, was shot but survived. Mullens was sentenced to death in August 2013.
Hillsborough County death row inmates
1 of 19On Feb. 15, 1993, Brett Bogle was sentenced to die for the rape and first-degree murder of Margaret Torres. He started his sentence just over a week later.
2 of 19Adam Davis was sentenced to death on Dec. 17, 1999 for the first-degree murder of Vicki Robinson. Robinson was the mother of Davis’s then 15-year-old girlfriend Valessa. Davis and Robinson, along with mutual friend Jon Whispel, plotted the murder. Davis injected the victim with bleach and stabbed her to death.
3 of 19Glen Rogers was sentenced to die in July 1997 for the murder of Tina Marie Cribbs on Nov. 5, 1995. Rogers robbed his victim and was arrested driving her car in Kentucky a week later. He started his sentence on July 11, 1997.
4 of 19James Rose was sentenced to death on May 13, 1977 for murdering the eight-year-old daughter of his former girlfriend in October 1976. Rose was the last person seen with the girl at a bowling alley where she was with her mother. He’s been on death row since May 1977.
5 of 19In 1986, Kenneth Stewart was given the death sentence for the 1985 murder of Ruben Diaz. Stewart shot and killed Diaz in a wooded area after getting a ride from the victim. He began his sentence on October 1986.
6 of 19Richard Anderson was convicted of first-degree murder in 1988 for killing Robert Grantham, who attempted to solicit Anderson’s girlfriend for sexual favors. He’s been on death row since Feb. 29, 1988.
7 of 19Charles Brant was convicted of first-degree murder in November 2007 for killing 21-year-old Sara Radfar. She was Brant’s neighbor at the time of the murder in 2004. He began his sentence on Dec. 6, 2007.
8 of 19In 2004, William Taylor was given the death sentence for the 2001 murder of Sandra Kushmer, a old school friend. He’s been on death row since October 2004.
9 of 19In 1999, Willie Crain was convicted of the first-degree murder of seven-year-old Amanda Brown in September 1998. He began his sentence on September 14, 2000.
10 of 19Milford Byrd was sentenced to death in 1982 for the murder of his wife Debra Byrd in October 1981. He’s been on death row since Aug. 18, 1981.
11 of 19Edward Covington was given the death sentence in 2015 for the murders of his girlfriend Lisa Freiberg and her two children. He killed the trio and the family dog in Freiberg’s Lutz mobile home in May 2008. He’s been on death row since June 2015.
12 of 19Terance Valentine was sentenced to death in 1994 for the murder of Ferdinand Porche, the husband of his ex-wife, in September 1988. He began his sentence on Halloween 1994.
13 of 19Ray Johnston was sentenced to death in 2000 and 2001 for the strangulation of two women in 1997. He started serving his sentences on August 24, 2001.
14 of 19In June 1999, Samuel Smithers was sentenced to die for the May 1996 killings of two prostitutes. He started on death row in July 1999.
15 of 19On August 1989, George Hodges was convicted of the first-degree murder of Betty Ricks in January 1987. She was a convenience store clerk who filed a criminal complaint against him the prior year for indecent exposure. He’s been serving his sentence since Aug. 11, 1989.
16 of 19In 1989, Perry Taylor was convicted of the 1988 murder of Geraldine Birch. Taylor had a brief sexual encounter with the victim before killing her. He’s been on death row since May 15, 1989.
17 of 19In March 1987, Paul Brown was sentenced to die for the March 1986 murder of Pauline Cowell. He began his sentence on March 5, 1987.
18 of 19Charles Finney was sentenced to death in November 1992 for the 1991 murder of Sandra Sutherland, a former neighbor. Finney robbed Sutherland in her apartment and pawned a VCR with his fingerprints, which later led police back to him. He’s been on death row since December 1992.
19 of 19In May 2014, Dontae Morris was sentenced to death for killing two Tampa police officers on June 29, 2010. The next year, he was given a third death penalty sentence for the murder of 21-year-old Derek Anderson. But that sentence was overturned in 2018 by the Florida Supreme Court. Morris shot and killed officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab in East Tampa after they pulled over him and his then-girlfriend for a missing tag. He started his sentence on June 3, 2014.
Hernando County Death row inmates
1 of 2On Dec. 1 1992, Alfred Fennie was convicted of the September 1991 kidnapping and murder of Mary Shearin. He began his death sentence the next day.
2 of 2Richard Shere began his sentence in May 1989 for the murder of his friend Drew Snyder on Christmas Day 1987. He and accomplice Bruce Demo shot Snyder after he disclosed the illegal activities of both Shere and Demo.
Times Staff Writer Dinorah Prevost contributed to this report.