Andrea Hicks Jackson, Florida
Andrea Hicks Jackson (aka Felice), Black, born Feb
26, 1958, sentenced to death on Feb 10, 1984 for the murder of a black
male police officer (age 28) in Jacksonville on May 16, 1983.
The death sentence was reversed in July 1989 and
she was resentenced on Feb 21, 1992, again reversed in 1994,
resentenced on Dec 13, 1995, and reversed in 1997 - currently not on
Andrea Hicks Jackson: Justice was not served in
June 30, 2000
Andrea Hicks Jackson, the murderer of Jacksonville
police officer Gary Bevel, smiled as she left Chief Circuit Judge
Donald Moran's courtroom. She beat the system.
In a surprise decision, Moran determined that
Jackson's sentence should be commuted to life.
Lady Justice has battled to maintain her dignity,
and with the help of Harry Shorstein, the State Attorney's Office and
four different juries she held her head high. The people spoke;
Jackson deserved to die for her brutal murder of Bevel.
That all changed with the recent ruling. Now,
Jackson will be eligible for parole in nine years.
Jackson had numerous opportunities to prove her
case in court, and each time the jury recommended the death penalty.
On one occasion, the case was overturned because of improper comments
made by former Sheriff Dale Carson. Was it improper for Carson to tell
a jury that the murderer of one of his officers deserves the ultimate
In another trip to court, the case was overturned
because the trial judge told the jury that the murder was cold,
calculated and premeditated. Wasn't it?
The murder of a police officer is the ultimate
disrespect for society and its laws. Justice was not served in this
case. In an inexplicable decision, Moran reversed stream and commuted
Jackson's sentence to life.
Apparently, Moran is frustrated with an inept
Florida Supreme Court that has continuously remanded this case back to
the tribunals of Duval County.
Lady Justice is indeed staggering from the
pummeling she is having to endure. I guess it is fitting that she is
blindfolded so that she does not have to see the real identity of her
When a judge sentences a person to death, it is not
uncommon for him to pronounce, "May God have mercy on your soul." With
the direction our courts have taken, they may be better suited to
address that proclamation to the citizens of Jacksonville.
DAVID L. STEVENS,
Fraternal Order of Police, Jacksonville.
Death sentence switched to life
Killer of police officer could go free in 9 years
By Vivan Wakefield - Times-Union staff writer
June 17, 2000
Four times Andrea Hicks Jackson was sentenced to
death for murdering a Jacksonville police officer in 1983. Four times
the Florida Supreme Court sent the case back to the trial judge for
Yesterday, Chief Circuit Judge Donald R. Moran --
who maintained for more than 15 years that Jackson should die for
killing Officer Gary Bevel -- stunned a Jacksonville courtroom when he
changed his sentence and ordered that she instead spend the rest of
her life in prison.
And despite Moran's pronouncement that her sentence
is "without parole," Jackson -- who came within five days of being
executed in 1989 -- could be eligible for release in nine years
because of laws on the books at the time of the murder.
Jackson, who has heard three different juries
recommend that she die for the murder, broke down in tears and hugged
her attorney when Moran announced the sentence.
"She was pretty shaken up," said defense attorney
Stephen Weinbaum. "She was somewhat in shock."
Saying he was uncomfortable with the Florida
Supreme Court sending the case back to him, Moran indicated he wanted
some finality to the case.
"Justice requires punishment," Moran said during
Jackson could be released from prison by 2009
because the law in 1984, when Jackson was sentenced, said killers
sentenced to life are eligible for parole in 25 years. Assistant State
Attorney Bernie de la Rionda said it would be up to Jackson's lawyers
to decide if they want to make sure that law is applied.
State Attorney Harry Shorstein said he can
understand Moran's frustration with the fact that the case continues
to get sent back by the state Supreme Court.
"With all respect for Judge Moran, he's been
dealing with this case for 17 years, and I think that he felt that
there had to be an end to it," Shorstein said. "I understand that he
could conclude that it was appropriate to bring it to an end."
The shooting occurred in May 1983 at Boulevard and
26th streets as Bevel, 29, attempted to arrest Jackson, then 24, on a
charge of filing a false police report about vandalism to her car.
The shooting took place as Bevel struggled to get
Jackson into a police car.
After dropping her keys to catch Bevel off guard,
Jackson fired six shots, striking Bevel four times in the head and two
times in the shoulder, de la Rionda said yesterday during the
"She didn't want to go back to jail," he said.
A jury convicted Jackson of first-degree murder and
recommended she get the death penalty. Moran sentenced Jackson to
death in 1984.
She was scheduled to die on May 9, 1989, but was
granted an indefinite stay of execution on May 4,1989, by the Florida
That same year, the court ruled that testimony by
former Sheriff Dale Carson during Jackson's trial was inappropriate
and ordered that Jackson be resentenced.
In late 1991, a jury again recommended that she get
death, which Moran sentenced her to in 1992.
But in 1994, the state Supreme Court overturned the
death sentence again, saying the judge erred when he described the
murder as cold, calculated and premeditated in instructions to the
In 1995, a third jury decided Jackson should get
the death penalty. Moran agreed in 1996 but the state's highest court
overturned the sentence again, saying Moran didn't provide a detailed
analysis of his reasoning.
In 1998, Moran sentenced Jackson to death for the
fourth time, but the state Supreme Court overturned the sentence in
January, saying Jackson's rights were violated when she wasn't allowed
to attend a hearing in Jacksonville two years ago.
During yesterday's sentencing hearing, Moran asked
Jackson several times if she wanted to make any statements to the
court. She repeatedly said she wasn't prepared to make statements.
During the hearing, her attorney asked to withdraw from the case,
saying he hadn't had time to prepare for it because of other
Moran declined Weinbaum's motion to withdraw and
proceeded with the hearing. Though he stated early in the hearing that
he intended to sentence Jackson on July 13, Moran shocked the
courtroom by announcing her sentence at the end of the proceeding.
Weinbaum said he always thought that ultimately a
life sentence would be handed down for Jackson, now 42 and one of only
four women on Florida's Death Row. He just didn't expect the decision
The decision also shocked and angered Jacksonville
police. Sheriff Nat Glover, who recruited Bevel, said he was
disappointed Jackson won't pay with her life for killing the young
Shorstein said the Jackson case is a clear example
of the frustration that prosecutors and trial judges have because of
the mixed messages they receive from the state Supreme Court regarding
the death penalty.
"It's gotten to the point where it's very difficult
for us to know when they'll affirm a death penalty and when they
won't," Shorstein said. "I think there's been a definite inconsistency
over the years and the rulings that are applicable to the sentence of
death, not the conviction but the sentence of death."
Prosecutors felt that the death penalty was
appropriate in the case. They cannot appeal yesterday's decision, de
la Rionda said.
"That's what we were seeking all along," de la
Rionda said. "We respectfully disagree with the court's ruling but
we're bound by it. The judge made a decision."
Times-Union staff writer Veronica Chapin
contributed to this story.
Killer's fourth death sentence lifted
Justices rule rights violated at hearing
By Jim Saunders - Times-Union staff writer
January 28, 2000
TALLAHASSEE -- For the fourth time, the Florida
Supreme Court yesterday threw out the death sentence of Jacksonville
cop killer Andrea Hicks Jackson and ordered a new sentencing hearing.
This time, the justices said Jackson's rights were
violated because she wasn't allowed to attend a hearing in Duval
County two years ago.
Jackson was first sentenced to death in February
1984 after being convicted of murdering Officer Gary Bevel, who was
shot six times when he tried to arrest her.
She was also given the death penalty in 1992, 1996
and 1998 -- all overturned by the Supreme Court.
While the court's latest action once again puts
Jackson's execution in jeopardy, it doesn't affect her murder
The decision miffed Chief Circuit Judge Donald
Moran, who sentenced Jackson, and angered police and prosecutors.
Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda of
Jacksonville called the latest ruling a "further example of justice
"Three juries have recommended that the death
penalty be imposed, and the last time was by a 12-0 vote," de la
But Jackson's longtime attorney, Stephen Weinbaum,
said Jackson doesn't deserve to be executed because she didn't plan to
"This was simply not a premeditated murder,"
Jackson, now 41, was convicted of shooting Bevel in
May 1983 when he tried to arrest her for filing a false police report
about damage to her car. Witnesses said Jackson shot the officer as he
struggled to get her into a police car at 26th Street and Boulevard.
The Supreme Court overturned Jackson's original
death sentence in 1989 because of improper testimony by former Sheriff
Dale Carson. She was sentenced again to death in 1992, but that
sentence was overturned in 1994 because of improper jury instructions.
In 1996, Jackson was sentenced to death a third
time, though it was overturned a year later because Moran didn't
provide a detailed analysis of his reasoning. That led to the fourth
death sentence in 1998.
Moran sentenced Jackson after receiving written
arguments but not holding a hearing. The Supreme Court said yesterday
Moran should have held a hearing that would have allowed Jackson to
"Indeed, one of a criminal defendant's most basic
constitutional rights is the right to be present in the courtroom at
every critical stage in the proceedings," the court's majority wrote
in the 5-2 decision.
Justices, however, said Moran shouldn't be blamed
for the error because of confusion stemming from other Supreme Court
rulings. After Jackson's sentencing, the court issued a ruling in a
separate case that clarified how judges should handle such cases.
The dissenting justices in yesterday's ruling,
Chief Justice Major B. Harding and Charles Wells, said Moran acted
properly and that Jackson was able to present her arguments in the
Harding wrote that the "judge did what we told him
to do. And now, we reverse him."
Moran, who has handled the case since the original
trial, said the ruling was "amazing to me." But he said he would
follow the court's instructions and hold another sentencing hearing.
"I'm going to do whatever they tell me," he said.
"It's not my place to disagree with them."
The ruling came less than three weeks after state
lawmakers passed a plan to try to limit appeals in death penalty
cases. De la Rionda said the Jackson case shows why Gov. Jeb Bush,
lawmakers and the public have become frustrated by an appeals process
that sometimes leaves inmates on Death Row for decades.
"This is a perfect example of why the governor and
others are attempting to change the system as it exists," de la Rionda
John Pialorsi, business agent for the Fraternal
Order of Police in Jacksonville, also said he was frustrated. He said
Jackson has received "every, every, every piece of due course of law."
"You never bury the memory of Gary Bevel, because
you can't [with the case still pending]," Pialorsi said.