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Burley GILLIAM Jr.





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: June 8, 1982
Date of birth: August 13, 1948
Victim profile: Joyce Marlowe (female)
Method of murder: Drowning
Location: Dade County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on February 1, 1985

The United States Court of Appeals
For the Eleventh Circuit


opinion 05-16638


Florida Supreme Court


opinion 73144

opinion SC95370


DC#  097234
DOB:  08/13/48

Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Dade County Case # 82-14766
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Theodore G. Mastos
Attorney, Trial: Pro Se, Standby Counsel: Stuart Adelstein & William Surowiec – Private
Attorney, Retrial: Ed Koch – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Sharon B. Jacobs – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal (after retrial): Robin H. Greene – Private
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Todd Scher – Registry

Date of Offense: 06/08/82

Date of Sentence: 02/01/85

Date of Resentence: 08/16/88

Circumstances of Offense:

Joyce Marlowe was last seen alive on the evening of 06/08/82, in the company of Burley Gilliam, Jr.  Marlowe was a dancer at a strip club where Gilliam went that evening, and she later left the club with him.

On the evening of 06/08/82, Sandy Burroughs was fishing on Twin Lakes when he heard a woman screaming.  When he went to investigate the commotion, Burroughs found Gilliam’s truck stuck in the sand, and a “very, very nervous” Gilliam, who kept saying, “I got to get out of here.”

Gilliam’s truck did not start after being extracted from the sand, so it was towed to a nearby garage for repairs.  The next day, Burroughs noticed that the lake area where he had found Gilliam was roped off, and when he inquired as to why, police told him that a woman had been raped and murdered there.

Gilliam told police that he and Marlowe were swimming in the lake, when he had accidentally dunked Marlowe under the water for too long, drowning her.  Gilliam also claimed to have unsuccessfully attempted to resuscitate Marlowe.

At trial, Gilliam employed an insanity defense, arguing that he committed the rape and murder during an epileptic seizure.  In an effort to substantiate the claim, several of Gilliam’s family members testified to what they believed to be a history of seizures by Gilliam. 

Further, a doctor testified that Gilliam’s seizures left him unable to understand the nature and consequences of his actions at the lake, and Gilliam testified that he had no recollection of the events at the lake. 

Additional Information:

During Gilliam’s original trial, he dismissed appointed counsel and was eventually allowed to proceed pro se, with the assistance of standby counsel.

Trial Summary:

07/08/82          Indicted on the following charges:

Count I             First-Degree Murder

Count II           Sexual Battery

Count III          Grand Theft

02/01/85          Jury returned guilty verdicts on Counts I and II of the indictment and a not guilty verdict on Count III of the indictment Jury recommended a death sentence by a vote of 12-0

Sentenced as follows:

Count I            First-Degree Murder – Death

Count II           Sexual Battery – Life Imprisonment

11/05/87          FSC reversed convictions and sentences and remanded for a new trial

06/17/88          Jury returned guilty verdicts on Counts I and II of the indictment

06/20/88          Jury recommended a death sentence by a vote of 12-0

08/16/88          Sentenced as follows:

Count I             First-Degree Murder – Death

Count II            Sexual Battery – Life Imprisonment

Case Information:

Gilliam filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 04/11/85, citing the following errors:  denial of a right to challenge prospective jurors, failure to hold a competency hearing, failure to suppress evidence from a search, failure to suppress his confession, and failure to strike the medical examiner’s testimony.  On 11/05/87, the FSC found that the denial of Gilliam’s right to challenge prospective jurors constituted reversible error.  Gilliam’s convictions and sentenced were reversed, and the case was remanded to the court for a new trial.

Gilliam was resentenced to death on 08/16/88.

Gilliam filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 10/07/88, citing the following errors:  denial of a motion to recuse the trial judge; denial of request for post-verdict juror interviews; improper finding of the heinous, atrocious, or cruel murder aggravating circumstance; inclusion of hearsay evidence; failure to enumerate statutory mitigating evidence in the trial judge’s sentencing order; and imposing a more serious sentence during resentencing.  On 05/02/91, the FSC affirmed Gilliam’s convictions and sentences.

Gilliam filed a 3.850 Motion with the Circuit Court on 02/25/93 that was denied in part on 10/13/95.  The court denied all claims except Gilliam’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim and ordered an evidentiary hearing to be held.  On 01/14/97, the court denied the remaining claim of the Motion.

Gilliam filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal on 04/19/99 and a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on 07/06/00, both with the Florida Supreme Court.  In the 3.850 Appeal, Gilliam raised twenty-two issues, and in the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Gilliam raised four issues dealing with ineffective assistance of counsel.  On 02/07/02, the FSC affirmed the denial of the 3.850 Motion and denied the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus.

Gilliam filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the Florida Supreme Court on 06/23/03, raising Ring issues.  On 05/04/04, the FSC denied the Petition.

Gilliam filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the U.S. District Court, Southern District, on 06/24/03 that was denied on 10/28/05.

Gilliam filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, on 11/23/05 that is pending.



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