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Loran K. COLE





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape - Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: February 18, 1994
Date of arrest: 3 days after
Date of birth: November 11, 1966
Victims profile: John Edwards
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife / Beating with a walking stick
Location: Marion County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on December 20, 1995

Florida Supreme Court

opinion 87337 opinion SC00-1388 opinion SC03-2204

DC #335421
DOB: 11/11/66

Fifth Judicial Circuit, Marion County, Case #94-00498
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable William T. Swigert
Trial Attorneys: T. Jenkins & D. Gleason – Special Appointed Public Defenders
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Christopher S. Quarles – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: James Viggiano – CCRC-M 

Date of Offense: 02/18/94 

Date of Sentence: 12/20/95

Circumstances of Offense:

Loran Cole was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of John Edwards on 02/18/94.

On Friday, 02/18/94, John Edwards met his sister Pam for a weekend camping trip in the Ocala National Forest.  While they were setting up camp in the Hopkins Prairie, Loran Cole stopped by, introduced himself as “Kevin” and helped them get settled. 

Later that evening, Cole returned to the Edwards’ campsite with William Paul, who he introduced as his brother, even though the two men were not related.  After sitting around the campfire, the four decided to go for a walk. 

While walking, Cole attacked Pam, throwing her to the ground, hitting her on the head and putting her in handcuffs.  At the same time, John began to struggle with Paul.  John took possession of a walking stick that Paul was carrying, and proceeded to beat him with it. 

With Pam in handcuffs, Cole helped Paul restrain John and laid him next to his sister on the ground.  While Cole and Paul were robbing the siblings, all John could do was apologize to his sister for having put her in such a dangerous situation.

Paul moved Pam up the trail, and Cole stayed behind with John, beating him for hurting his “brother” with the walking stick in the earlier altercation.  Soon Cole joined Paul and Pam, and told them they were going to wait until John passed out. 

Cole then went back to where John lay injured and slit his throat, telling Pam that he was only moving John off the trail and tying him up.  John died from a slashed throat and numerous skull fractures.

Cole and Paul took Pam back to the campsite where Cole raped her.  The next day, Cole claimed he was going to check on John and told Pam that he was all right.  Cole then raped Pam again, gagged her, and tied her between two trees. 

Pam was able to free herself from the ropes on early Sunday morning.  Fearing for her brother’s safety, she stayed put for a while; however, Pam eventually flagged down a motorist who took her to call police.  Cole and Paul were identified from the detailed description Pam gave to police and arrested on 02/21/94.

Codefendant Status:

William Paul pled nolo contendere to charges of First-Degree Murder, two counts of Armed Kidnapping and two counts of Armed Robbery.  He was sentenced to life on all charges on 06/30/95.

Trial Summary:

02/21/94          Defendant arrested.

03/04/94          Defendant entered a plea of “not guilty”.

03/10/94          Defendant indicted on:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder
Count II:          Armed Kidnapping
Count III:         Armed Kidnapping
Count IV:          Armed Robbery
Count V:           Armed Robbery
Count VI:          Armed Sexual Battery
Count VII:         Armed Sexual Battery

09/28/95          The defendant was found guilty on all counts in the indictment.

09/29/95          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 12 to 0 majority, voted for the death penalty.

12/20/95          The defendant was sentenced as followed:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder - Death
Count II:          Kidnapping - 25 years
Count III:         Kidnapping - 25 years
Count IV:          Armed Robbery - 25 years
Count V:           Armed Robbery - 25 years
Count VI:          Sexual Battery - 25 years
Count VII:         Sexual Battery - 25 years

Case Information:

Cole filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 02/06/96.  In that appeal, he argued that the trial court erred in allowing a segment of Pam Edwards’ testimony to be read back to the jury during penalty phase deliberations.  Cole also contended that the court erred in its application of aggravating and mitigating circumstances and in denying his motion for a mistrial when his prior criminal history was mentioned during testimony.  Additionally, Cole argued the denial of his motion to suppress the presentation of evidence seized during his warrantless arrest.  The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the convictions and sentence of death; however, they remanded the other felony convictions for re-sentencing according to sentencing guidelines on 09/18/97.

Next, Cole filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, which was denied on 03/30/98.

Cole then filed a Motion to Vacate Judgment and Sentence (3.850) in the State Circuit Court on 06/05/98.  That motion was denied on 05/24/00, after which he filed an appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 06/28/00.  Cole also filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Florida Supreme Court on 01/29/01.  On 01/16/03, in an consolidated opinion, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Cole’s 3.850 Motion and denied his Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus.

Cole filed a 3.850 Motion in the State Circuit on 09/30/03, which was denied on 11/03/03.  He then filed an appeal of that decision in the Florida Supreme Court on 12/08/03, which specifically addressed DNA issues (3.853 Motion Appeal).  On 11/24/04, the FSC affirmed the denial of the 3.853 Motion.

On 01/23/04, Cole filed another 3.850 Motion in the State Circuit Court, which was stricken on 01/26/04.

On 05/06/05, Cole filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the U.S. District Court, Middle District that was denied on 05/03/06.


Loran K. Cole



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