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Jacob John DOUGAN Jr.





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Hate crime - A note, impaled in the victim's stomach with a knife, called for revolution by oppressed blacks and vowed to kill other whites
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: June 17, 1974
Date of birth: July 11, 1947
Victim profile: Steve Orlando, 18
Method of murder: Shooting (.22 caliber pistol)
Location: Duval County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on April 10, 1975. Resentenced to death on October 25, 1979, and December 4, 1987

Supreme Court of Florida

opinion 71755

opinion 83398


DC#  046622
DOB:  07/11/47

Fourth Judicial Circuit, Duval County Case # 74-4139 CF
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable R. Hudson Olliff
Trial Attorney: Ernest D. Jackson, Sr. & Dietra Micks – Private
Attorneys, Direct Appeal:
Direct Appeal (1977): Ernest D. Jackson, Sr.
Direct Appeal (1981) (after re-sentencing): Joseph M. Nursey
Direct Appeal (1985) (after order from FSC): Joseph M. Nursey
Direct Appeal (1992) (after re-sentencing): James E. Ferguson II
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Mark Olive – Private

Date of Offense: 06/17/74

Date of Sentence: 04/10/75

Date of Resentence: 10/25/79 and 12/04/87

Circumstances of Offense:

On the evening of 06/17/74, in Jacksonville, FL., Dougan, along with four accomplices, armed with a .22 caliber pistol and a knife, set out to kill a white person, whom they termed “devils.”

While driving to Jacksonville Beach, the men picked up a hitchhiker named Stephen Orlando and drove him to an isolated trash dump.  After arriving, the men ordered Orlando out of the car, threw him to the ground, and one of the accomplices began stabbing him with the knife.  Dougan put his foot on the head of Orlando and fired two shots to his head, one striking Orlando in the cheek and the other in the ear – killing him instantly.

A note was attached to the body of Orlando, which read as follows:  “Warning to the oppressive state. No longer will your atrocities and brutalizing of black people be unpunished. The black man is no longer asleep. The revolution has begun and the oppressed will be victorious. The revolution will end when we are free. The Black Revolutionary Army. All power to the people."

In addition to the note, the offenders recorded a number of audio tapes concerning the murder and sent them to the victim’s mother, as well as local media outlets. 

Trial Summary:

09/26/74 - Indicted for First-Degree Murder.

03/05/75 - Jury returned guilty verdict and recommended death penalty by a 10-2.

04/10/75 - Sentenced to death.

10/25/79 - Resentenced to death as a result of a successful Gardner appeal.

12/04/87 - Resentenced to death.  The jury recommended a death sentence by a vote of 9-3.  Resentenced as a result of a successful Habeas appeal.

Case Information:

Dougan filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 04/23/75, claiming the trial court erred in deciding the venue of the trial and that he was denied a fair and impartial trial because the prosecutor failed to reveal complete details of a plea bargain agreement with a witness (an accomplice) in exchange for his testimony.

The Florida Supreme Court upheld the conviction and sentence of death on 03/17/77.

Dougan filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with  the U.S. Supreme Court on 08/29/77 and was denied this Petition on 10/10/78.

Subsequent to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Gardner v. Florida, the Florida Supreme Court took the petition for Gardner Relief to ensure that the sentencing procedure in this case satisfied the Due Process clause of the U.S. Constitution. 

The Gardner petition was based on the fact that the defense did not have sufficient opportunity to rebut information contained in the presentence investigation report, which was used as evidence of aggravating factors in the sentencing phase of the trial.  On 09/07/78, the petition was granted, with the sentence vacated and the proceeding remanded to the trial court for resentencing.

Dougan was resentenced to death on 10/25/79.

Dougan filed his second Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 11/21/79.  Dougan argued that he was prejudiced by the trial court’s early consideration of a presentence investigation report, which defense counsel had no opportunity to rebut.  On 04/09/81, the Florida Supreme Court again affirmed the sentence of death.

Dougan filed another Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court on 07/06/81, and this Petition was denied on 10/05/81.

Dougan filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the Florida Supreme Court on 03/01/82, citing ineffective assistance of counsel due to conflict of interest and failure to raise meritorious legal claims. 

The court ruled that conflict of interest did exist, since the same counsel represented both Dougan and another conspirator in the same direct appeal to the FSC.  On 04/05/84, the court granted the Petition and ordered another Direct Appeal be filed with separate counsel.

Dougan’s third Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court was filed on 04/05/84, citing the following issues:  improper search and seizure, victim’s stepfather identifying the victim at trial, errors in jury instruction regarding felony murder, exclusion of relevant defense evidence at trial, and exclusion of death-scrupled prospective jurors. 

The court found that during the sentencing phase of the trial, the state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt all aspects of all the aggravating circumstances.  The court again vacated Dougan’s death sentence and remanded it for a new sentencing hearing with a new jury.

Dougan again filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on 07/11/85 and was denied this Petition on 03/31/86.

Dougan was resentenced to death on 12/04/87.  The jury recommended a death sentence by a vote of 9-3.

Dougan filed a fourth Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 01/04/88, citing the following issues:  race-biased use of peremptory challenges during jury selection, inability of the jury to recommend life imprisonment regardless of its findings as to aggravating and mitigating circumstances, errors in instructing the jury as to mitigating circumstances, and disproportionality of the death sentence.  On 04/01/92, the FSC affirmed the death sentence for Dougan.

Dougan filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on 08/21/92, and this Petition was denied on 10/19/92.

Dougan filed a second Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the Florida Supreme Court on 03/23/94, arguing that the jury was given inadequate instruction and weighed an invalid aggravating factor.  The court found this error to be harmless and denied the Petition on 09/08/94.

Dougan filed a 3.850 Motion in the circuit court on 10/17/94 that was amended on 09/06/02 and is pending.


Torture in Florida

A Killing On Father's Day

By Andrew H. Malcolm - The New York Times

Monday, July 23, 1990

It was the evening of June 16, 1974, Father's Day. But 18-year-old Steve Orlando was not celebrating. His parents were divorced, and he lived with his mother in Jacksonville, Fla.

Mr. Orlando had played pool with friends at a Howard Johnson motel. Now, he was going to walk five blocks to fetch his stalled car.

The next morning, Mr. Orlando was found lying in the middle of the sandy road that leads to a dump. He had been pummeled and then tortured with a knife. He had been shot in the left cheek. And then in the left ear. A note, impaled in his stomach with the knife, called for revolution by oppressed blacks and vowed to kill other whites. Indeed, a week after Mr. Orlando's death, another white teen-age boy was killed in the Jacksonville area under similar circumstances.

On tape recordings sent to the victims' families and TV stations, a man described in gruesome detail the torture of Mr. Orlando. But despite all the fear in the town, the news media attention and political pressures, the investigation reached a dead end in two months. Tommy Reeves, a veteran homicide sergeant, was placed in charge in August.

In the cardboard box that contained files and literature initially collected by many detectives was a handwritten letter of resignation from some anti-poverty program. It looked familiar.

Sergeant Reeves reached for the note found by the Orlando body. The writing was the same. The letter was signed by Jacob Dougan, a Vietnam veteran and an organizer for black causes, with no criminal record.

Fingerprint on a Tape Recording

The detective sent the letters to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which got Mr. Dougan's fingerprints from the Air Force. The agency said both letters were Mr. Dougan's. It also said there was a Dougan fingerprint on one of the tape recordings. In late September Sergeant Reeves and other officers arrested the 28-year-old Mr. Dougan.

Ernest Jackson, a respected civil rights lawyer, agreed to be defense counsel. It was a tough assignment.

In return for reduced charges, William Hearn, who had driven the car used in the kidnapping of Mr. Orlando, made a full statement naming Mr. Dougan as the leader of a plot to seize a ''white devil'' and execute him to promote black revolution.

Duval County, which includes Jacksonville, has about 200 homicide prosecutions a year. The seven-member homicide panel, headed by the prosecutor, Ed Austin, votes to seek the death penalty in 1 percent to 5 percent of murders. The Orlando killing was one.

Mr. Dougan's devoted adoptive parents and church upbringing and even his Eagle Scout badge erased any doubt in Mr. Austin's mind that the young man knew right from wrong. There was little room for the defense to maneuver, except to argue temporary insanity caused by racial problems. Mr. Hearn's testimony persuaded the jury to find Mr. Dougan guilty.

After the penalty hearing, the jury recommended death, 10 to 2. On April 10, 1975, a month later, Judge R. Hudson Olliff ordered that Mr. Dougan be electrocuted. In his decades at the Duval County courthouse, the 64-year-old Judge Olliff has issued nine death sentences, but to seven men. With appeals over the years, Mr. Dougan has been in Courtroom 8 three times for the same crime.

There have been 34 legal steps in the decorous struggle over whether Jacob Dougan will someday sit in Florida's worn wooden electric chair, the seven leather straps buckled around his chest and limbs, and have 2,000 volts pass through his body.

Both sides have been waiting nearly 17 months for the latest opinion from the Florida Supreme Court. All this has taken more than 15 years, and many more years lie ahead; the Dougan case has not gone the Federal appeals court route.


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