Thursday, October 12, 2006

Florida judge denies appeal for former Shreveporter Rolling

Florida judge denies appeal for former Shreveporter Rolling
October 12, 2006

From Staff and Wire ReportsA Florida judge refused to hear arguments about lethal injection from convicted serial killer Danny Rolling, a former Shreveporter and son of a retired local police lieutenant, and his denial of Rolling's appeal now puts the case before the Florida Supreme Court

Defense attorneys had filed claims involving public record access, cruel and unusual punishment, free speech and an American Bar Association report on the death penalty process in Florida, the Gainesville Sun reported for today’s edition.

Circuit Court Judge Stan Morris refused to grant a hearing for Rolling, 52, on Monday, saying his arguments about lethal injection were without merit.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed the death warrant Sept. 22 for Rolling, convicted of the 1990 slayings of five college students in Gainesville, Fla., and the chief suspect in a gruesome 1989 triple slaying here. Now, unless Florida's highest court intervenes,

Rolling will die by lethal injection Oct. 25.

He pleaded guilty in 1994 to the college-city slayings of Sonja Larson, 18, of Deerfield Beach; Christina Powell, 17, of Jacksonville; Christa Hoyt, 19, of Archer; and Tracy Paules, 23, and Manuel Taboada, 23, both of Miami.

Three of the five victims were mutilated. One woman was decapitated, her head placed on a bookshelf, her torso slit from neck to waist. Three of the four women were raped. Several of the bodies were posed for shock value. A knife was used in all of the killings.Rolling’s attorney Baya Harrison said he planned to appeal Morris’ decision.

Arguments on the appeal are scheduled before the Florida Supreme Court Wednesday."We’re sorry we lost, but Judge Morris is the kind of person who sticks to the law and as he sees it, we’re just out of bullets," Harrison said Wednesday.

"We’re gonna keep fighting."

Rolling, the son of a former Shreveport police lieutenant, was and remains the chief suspect in the 1989 slayings of 24-year-old college student Julie Grissom, her father, Tom, 55, and her 8-year-old nephew, Sean, in the elder Grissom’s Southern Hills Beth Lane home.

Rolling was never tried for the slayings, but an arrest warrant from the Caddo Parish District

Attorney’s office has remained prepared since the early 1990s, requiring only a judge’s signature."Nothing has changed," Shreveport police Lt. Danny Fogger told The Times in 2000.

"We’ve long had enough evidence to arrest him."But the state of Florida made it clear Rolling would never be extradited to a state where he might be convicted and sentenced to a jail term. That could set up a separate legal battle over whether he could be forcibly returned to a state where he faced death.

In an interview with Florida’s WFLA-TV in the mid-1990s, Rolling admitted responsibility for the Grissom murders, but stopped just shy of confessing. He also said he killed a person for each year he served in prison; the total of the Shreveport and Gainesville murders is eight.Rolling's connection with the Florida slayings was revealed through the work of Shreveport police detectives, who notified

Florida investigators that Rolling, arrested in Florida for an unrelated armed robbery, was the suspect in the Grissom slayings. That prompted a check of his DNA against that found at the college slayings. There was a match.

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