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Richard Eugene HAMILTON





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Escape - Kidnapping - Rape - Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: April 27, 1994
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: February 16, 1963
Victims profile: Carmen Gayheart
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Hamilton County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on June 12, 1995

Florida Supreme Court


opinion 86021

opinion SC02-1426


DC#  123846

Third Judicial Circuit, Hamilton County Case # 94-150
(Venue changed to Clay County)
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable E. Vernon Douglas
Attorney, Trial: Jimmy E. Hunt & David M. Valin – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: David A. Davis – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: George W. Blow, III – Registry

Date of Offense: 04/27/94

Date of Sentence: 06/12/95

Circumstances of Offense:

Richard Hamilton and Anthony Wainwright escaped from a North Carolina prison, stole guns and a Cadillac, and traveled to Florida. 

When the car overheated on 04/27/94 in Lake City, FL, they kidnapped Carmen Gayheart at gunpoint from a Winn-Dixie parking lot and stole her Ford Bronco. 

The two raped, strangled, and shot Gayheart twice in the back of the head.

Codefendant Information:

Wainwright was also convicted of the charges and sentenced to death.

Trial Summary:

07/15/94          Indicted on the following counts:

Count I            First-Degree Murder

Count II           Armed robbery

Count III          Armed kidnapping

Count IV           Armed sexual battery

08/12/94          Entered not guilty plea

05/30/95          Jury returned guilty verdict on all counts

06/01/95          By a vote of 10-2, jury recommended death sentence

06/12/95          Sentenced as follows:

Count I             First-Degree Murder – Death

Counts II-IV      Life Imprisonment

Case Information:

On 07/10/95, Hamilton filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court, citing the following nine errors: denying a mistrial, allowing the State to impeach its own witnesses, allowing the State to elicit testimony indicating Hamilton lied to the police, refusing to instruct the jury that Hamilton withdrew from the plan to commit murder, overruling defense objections to prosecutorial statements, admitting testimony concerning the victim’s children, admitting several statements obtained in violation of his right to cut off police questioning, admitting evidence which the State had failed to prove, giving unconstitutional jury instruction on an aggravating circumstance (CCP). 

The FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence of Hamilton on 10/23/97.

On 04/07/98, Hamilton filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court that was denied on 06/26/98

On 11/08/99, Hamilton filed a 3.850 Motion with the Circuit Court and amended the Motion on 06/30/00.  The Motion was denied on 05/29/02.

On 06/28/02, Hamilton filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel.  On 06/03/04, the FSC affirmed the denial of the 3.850 Motion. 

On 11/12/02, Hamilton filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the Florida Supreme Court.  On 11/27/02, he amended the Petition, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel and Ring issues.  On 06/03/04, the FSC denied the Petition.

On 08/26/05, Hamilton filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the U.S. District Court, Middle District that is pending.



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