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Kenneth Louis DESSAURE





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: February 9, 1999
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: January 28, 1978
Victim profile: Cindy Riedweg (his neighbor)
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Pinellas County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on October 26, 2001

Supreme Court of Florida


opinion SC02-286


DC#  R05023
DOB:  01/28/78

Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pinellas County Case # 99-15522
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Brandt Downey
Attorney, Trial: Michael Schwartzberg – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Paul Helm – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  James Driscoll – CCRC-M

Date of Offense: 02/09/99

Date of Sentence: 10/26/01

Circumstances of Offense:

On 02/09/99, Kenneth Dessaure called 911 to report that he found a naked, dead woman in her apartment hallway. 

Dessaure told the 911 operator that he went to the apartment of his neighbor, Cindy Riedweg, to borrow some ice, and he discovered the body.  Riedweg’s body was lying face down with her arms tucked under her body. 

The body had fifty-three wounds, including three bruises, fifteen scrapes and pick marks; sixteen superficial cuts; fifteen deeper cuts; and four stab wounds.  Multiple stab wounds to the torso and neck were the cause of death.

In a statement to police, Dessaure stated that he saw Riedweg sunbathing as he took out the trash.  When he returned to his apartment, he began washing dishes but cut his palm while washing a knife. 

Dessaure’s ice cube tray was empty, so he went next door to Riedweg’s apartment for some ice.  He knocked on the door and yelled for “Cindy,” but the door was unlocked, so he entered the apartment.  He found Riedweg lying on the floor and left the apartment.

Forensic analysis of Dessaure’s clothing yielded blood stains that matched Riedweg’s DNA profile, and a towel and comforter from Riedweg’s apartment tested positive for semen that was matched to Dessaure.  A blood-stained knife was found in Dessaure’s kitchen.

According to two of Dessaure’s fellow inmates at the Pinellas County Jail, Valdez Hardy and Shavar Sampson, Dessaure admitted to the rape and murder of Cindy Riedweg.

Trial Summary:

08/26/99          Indicted as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder

09/05/01          Jury returned a guilty verdict

09/06/01          Jury recommendation waived

09/11/01          Penalty phase held

10/26/01          Sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder – Death

Case Information:

On 02/07/02, Dessaure filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court, citing the following trial court errors: denying a motion for mistrial based on the prosecutor’s opening statement; refusing to allow evidence that two marijuana cigarettes were found in Riedweg’s apartment; refusing to allow the defense to present evidence that Riedweg’s boyfriend smoked marijuana; allowing the State to argue that Dessaure was the source of the cigarette ash found in Riedweg’s sink; allowing the State to impeach the testimony of two defense witnesses; denying a motion to exclude evidence regarding Dessaure’s argument with his fiancée; allowing the defendant to waive a penalty phase jury without a valid waiver; failing to allow a jury to make a sentencing recommendation; failing to charge aggravating circumstances in the indictment; failing to have sufficient evidence to convict; and failing to sentence proportionately. 

On 12/02/04, the FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence.

On 02/28/06, Dessaure filed a 3.851 Motion with the Circuit Court that is pending.



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