Sixth Judicial Circuit,
Pinellas County Case # 95-18753
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable
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
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,
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.
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.
Anthony Lopez developed severe mental problems prior to trial. He has
been institutionalized in order to restore his competency to stand