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Michael J. GRIFFIN





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - Drugs
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: October 7, 1995
Date of birth: December 17, 1970
Victims profile: Tom McCallops and his wife, Patricia McCallops
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Pinellas County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on July 10, 1998

Supreme Court of Florida

opinion SC93906

DC#  124518

Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pinellas County Case # 95-18753
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Brandt Downey
Attorney, Trial: Bjorn Brunvand – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Kevin Briggs – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Terri Backhus & Celeste Bacchi – CCRC-S 

Date of Offense: 10/07/95

Date of Sentence: 07/10/98

Circumstances of Offense:

After graduating from high school, Michael Griffin began working for his father as a service and repair technician at Moore’s Refrigeration. 

Moore’s dealt with vending companies which needed servicing for vending machines and coolers.  One such company was Service America Corporation, where Griffin became familiar with the facility, the employees, and the large amount of cash kept there.   

In 1995, Griffin left Moore’s Refrigeration and became addicted to cocaine, selling drugs to earn money to buy more cocaine.  Griffin moved in with the man for whom he was selling drugs, Nicolas Kocolis.  There he met another addict, Anthony Lopez. 

Griffin was in financial trouble and decided to steal money from Service America Corporation, which kept large amounts of money collected from their vending machines. 

Kocolis, Lopez, and Griffin had planned to steal the money, but then Kocolis decided against the plan.  Griffin planned to gain access to Service America’s warehouse through any Service America employee who would recognize him from previous service visits and let him into the warehouse.   

On 10/07/95, after one failed attempt, Griffin and Lopez returned to Service America, armed with a 9 mm pistol and a shotgun.  They spotted an employee who recognized Griffin and let them in the warehouse. 

Tom McCallops was accompanied by his wife, Patricia McCallops that evening.  Once inside the warehouse, Griffin and Lopez showed their weapons.  Lopez forced the McCallops into a cooler while Griffin opened the lockers where the money was kept. 

Griffin testified at the sentencing phase that while he was opening the money lockers, he heard Lopez shoot the McCallopses with the shotgun.  However, other witnesses testified that Griffin told them that he shot the McCallopses with the shotgun after the money was taken, and he also told Lopez to finish the job with the 9 mm. 

Autopsies showed that Tom McCallops received a life-threatening shotgun wound to his upper chest and neck and four handgun wounds to his hip, thigh, and head.  Patricia McCallops had two handgun wounds, one to the head and one to the chest.  Further forensic investigation matched the tire tracks left at the Service America warehouse to the tires on Griffin’s van. 

Griffin and Lopez were initially implicated in the robbery and murder through a conversation that the pair had with an acquaintance in a bar across the street from the Service America warehouse. 

Codefendant Information:

Anthony Lopez developed severe mental problems prior to trial.  He has been institutionalized in order to restore his competency to stand trial. 

Nicolas Kocolis was incarcerated on a probation violation not related to the McCallops murders. 

Trial Summary:

11/29/95          Indicted as follows:

Count I            First-Degree Murder (Tom McCallops)

Count II           First-Degree Murder (Patricia McCallops)

06/13/97          Pled guilty to both counts of the indictment

12/08/97          Waived jury recommendation vote

07/10/98          Sentenced as follows:

Count I             First-Degree Murder (Tom McCallops) – Death

Count II            First-Degree Murder (Patricia McCallops) – Death

Case Information:

Griffin filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 09/14/98, citing the following errors:  improper finding of a voluntary and intelligent waiver of a jury recommendation, failing to consider mitigating evidence, and improper doubling of aggravating circumstances.  On 05/30/02, the FSC affirmed the convictions and sentences. 

Griffin filed a 3.850 Motion with the Circuit Court on 08/27/03 and amended the Motion on 09/19/03 and 07/25/05.  The Motion is pending before the court.


Michael J. Griffin



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