Death sentence upheld in decades-old Pinellas murders

Published May 17, 2018

More than 35 years after the execution-style murders of three men in a Pinellas County home, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal by a Death Row inmate convicted in the attack.

Justices unanimously turned down a series of arguments made by attorneys for Jason Dirk Walton, now 59, who was sentenced to death in the 1982 murders.

A court document filed last year by Attorney General Pam Bondi's office said the three victims were found lying face down with their wrists bound, and each had been shot at close range with a shotgun. An 8-year-old boy was found unharmed but had been locked in a bathroom.

Thursday's Supreme Court ruling said the shootings were part of a robbery and burglary.

In the appeal, Walton's attorneys pointed to issues related to the 2014 resentencing of a co-defendant to life in prison. But justices, in a 14-page ruling written by Justice Peggy Quince, upheld a lower-court decision that rejected the arguments.