1. News
  2. /
  3. Crime

Federal judge grants James Dailey temporary stay of execution

Dailey was set to be put to death Nov. 7. A judge ordered his execution to be postponed to give his attorneys time to present their claims. But the state can appeal.
A federal judge gas stayed the Nov. 7 execution of death row inmate James Dailey, 73, for the 1985 murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio. Left: Dailey at his 1987 trial, where he was convicted and sentenced to death. Middle: Dailey in 1993, when he was again sentenced to die. Right: The most current photo of Dailey on Florida's Death Row. [Tampa Bay Times]
Published Oct. 23
Updated Oct. 23

TAMPA — A federal judge on Wednesday granted a stay of execution for 73-year-old death row inmate James Dailey, who was set to be executed on Nov. 7 for a 1985 Pinellas County murder.

U.S. District Judge William Jung imposed the stay until Dec. 30 to give Dailey’s newly appointed federal attorneys more time to research and present their case.

Shelly Elizabeth Boggio was killed at the age of 14 on May 5, 1985. [Tampa Bay Times]

Prosecutors can appeal the decision. A spokeswoman for Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said her office was evaluating how to respond.

Dailey’s legal team has argued in state court that new evidence suggests he is innocent of the 1985 murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio. They have said that his co-defendant, Jack Pearcy, is solely responsible for the crime. Pearcy, now 64, is serving a life sentence.

RELATED: Doubts linger, but James Dailey is set to die for murder of Pinellas girl

Boggio’s body was found one morning in May 1985 in the Intracoastal Waterway in Indian Rocks Beach. The Kenneth City girl was beaten, choked, stabbed 31 times and held underwater until she drowned. She had 18 defensive wounds on her hands, suggesting she fought for her life.

Witnesses said she had been with Pearcy, Dailey and another man the previous night. When questioned, Pearcy implicated Dailey.

But no physical evidence or eyewitness testimony linked Dailey to the crime. His conviction relied heavily on the testimony of three jailhouse informants, who claimed they heard him make incriminating statements.

In 2017, Pearcy signed an affidavit saying he alone was responsible for the murder. But when he was called the testify in court, he said certain statements in the affidavit were not true and invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Dailey has been on Florida’s death row since 1987.

RELATED: Pinellas girl, 14, lived a short, hard life. Her killer is set to die.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Dailey’s death warrant in September. Shortly thereafter, the lawyers who handled Dailey’s state-level appeals withdrew from representing him in federal court, citing legal conflicts of interest.

A judge appointed a unit of the federal public defender’s office. That office rapidly reviewed Dailey’s case, but said the imminent execution date did not give them enough time to properly pursue his claims. They asked for a stay until Dec. 15.

Prosecutors opposed the request, noting that Dailey has already had a full round of federal appeals.

In his Wednesday order, Jung cited a federal law that allows for a 90-day stay of execution under such circumstances. He imposed the stay until Dec. 30. The judge wrote that “it is in the interests of a just and fair system” to give the lawyers more time to research and present their claims.

The execution could still happen as scheduled — 6 p.m. at Florida State Prison in Starke — if the state persuades an appeals court to reverse the judge’s decision. If not, though, the execution date would have to be rescheduled for some time after the stay expires.

James Dailey appears in a Pinellas County courtroom in 1993 in the murder of Shelly Boggio. The 14-year-old Kenneth City girl was beaten, choked, stabbed 31 times and then held underwater until she drowned in 1985. Dailey is now 73 and waiting for his sentence to be carried out. [SCOTT KEELER | Scott Keeler]


  1. James Rybicki, 63, faces charges of lewd and lascivious molestation and possession of child pornography. But he could go free after a judge found that Pinellas sheriff’s detectives and Pinellas-Pasco prosecutors lied to obtain a search warrant in his case. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
    A Pinellas sheriff’s detective and Pinellas-Pasco prosecutors “made false statements” to obtain a search warrant, a judge has ruled. The evidence was thrown out.
  2. Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Pamela Campbell during a hearing to review the guardianship cases once overseen by Traci Hudson, who faces criminal charges in one of those cases. Hudson was not present during Wednesday's hearing in a St. Petersburg courtroom. Pinellas sheriff's detectives say she stole more than $500,000 from an elderly man for whom she held power of attorney. Court records show she was appointed as a guardian in about two dozen cases. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Traci Hudson had served as guardian overseeing the affairs of 26 people until her arrest on a charge of exploitation of the elderly. Her handling of those cases will be reviewed.
  3. Ashley Laquita Moore, 34, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and culpable negligence after intentionally running into a bus. Hillsborough County Sherriff's Office
    Ashley Laquita Moore faces charges of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle and culpable negligence.
  4. This 2016 photo was taken after three teens stole a Toyota Camry from a driver who was grabbing coffee at 7 a.m. and crashed it into a parked car about a block away. St. Petersburg police arrested three teens ages 15, 15, and 16. St. Petersburg Police Department
    Thieves like to target these models because it’s easier for them to sell them for parts.
  5. A federal jury in Tampa found Christopher Brian Cosimano, left, and Michael Dominick Mencher guilty in the Pasco County shooting death of a motorcycle club leader. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
    Christopher “Durty” Cosimano and Michael “Pumpkin” Mencher were members of the 69′ers Motorcycle Club. Prosecutors said they were responsible for the rush-hour assassination of Paul Anderson, a...
  6. For the latest news and information, go to TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    The lawsuits claimed the individuals were unable to access public establishments because they did not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  7. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The Shih Tzu, owned by the suspect’s uncle, was then tossed into a canal.
  8. In December 2017, two masked motorcycle gang members were accused of assassinating Paul Anderson, 44,  president of the Cross Bayou chapter of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club while his pickup was stopped at a traffic light in Pasco County. [Pasco County Sheriffs Office]
    Evidence from the federal trial of two members of the 69′ers Motorcycle Club offers a rare glimpse of the world of outlaw biker gangs.
  9. Maxwell Guss, 34, of Bradenton was arrested on Monday afternoon on two counts of Lewd and Lascivious Conduct by a person over 18. Sarasota Police Department
    Maxwell Guss has been on administrative leave from Brookside Middle School, where he was a business teacher.
  10. Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister speaks during a press conference on MOnday about the results of an undercover sting meant to reduce human trafficking. Also shown are Dotti Groover-Skipper, divisional anti-trafficking director for the Salvation Army, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Special Agent James Spero, which assisted with the operation. Tony Marrero
    The Tampa Bay area is one of the top destinations in the country for human trafficking and the problem continues to grow, authorities say.