Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.




Guerry Wayne HERTZ





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - Arson
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: July 27, 1997
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: March 8, 1977
Victims profile: Melanie King and Robin Keith Spears
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Wakulla County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on February 18, 2000

Florida Supreme Court


opinion SC00-457

opinion SC05-59


DC#   567668

Second Judicial Circuit, Wakulla County, Case #97-214
Sentencing Judge, Trial: The Honorable N. Sanders Sauls
Attorney, Trial: Robert Rand – Special Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Steven L. Seliger – Private
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Clyde M. Taylor, Jr. – Registry

Date of Offense:           07/27/97         

Date of Sentence:         02/18/00

Circumstances of Offense:

The bodies of Melanie King and Robin Keith Spears were found in their burning home in the early morning hours of July 27, 1997.

On July 26, 1997, Guerry Hertz, Jason Looney, and Jimmy Dempsey left an acquaintance’s house on foot, which was within walking distance of the victims’ home, at approximately 11 p.m.  A woman who lived approximately 500 yards from the victims’ home said that, at approximately 2 a.m., Hertz came to her home requesting to use her telephone because “his truck had broken down.”  She refused and the three men resumed their walk up the road towards the home of Melanie King and Robin Keith Spears.  When Looney saw their black Ford Mustang, he exclaimed, “There’s my car right there. That’s the one I want.”

Acting as a decoy, Dempsey and Hertz knocked on the victims’ front door and asked if they could use a telephone.  King gave them a cordless telephone and Dempsey pretended to make a call.  When Dempsey started to hand the phone back to King, Hertz forced his way into the home at gunpoint. 

Looney entered after him and targeted Spears with his rifle.  King and Spears were forced face down on their bed after being bound and gagged with duct tape.  The three defendants stole various items including a television, a VCR, furniture, jewelry, CDs, and $1500 cash.  They loaded the stolen goods into the victims’ two vehicles. 

Hertz and Looney decided that they could not leave witnesses and then informed Dempsey of their plan.  Dempsey testified that Hertz and Looney poured accelerants throughout the house, after which all three men went back to the bedroom armed.  King told the defendants that she would “rather die being burnt up than shot.” 

She then stated, “Please, God, don’t shoot me in the head.”  Hertz replied, “Sorry, can’t do that,” before he started firing his firearm.  Looney started firing and was followed by Dempsey.  Both King and Spears died as a result of the gunshot wounds.

After the shootings, the house was set afire.  Looney drove away in the victims’ Ford Mustang with Dempsey as a passenger, while Hertz drove the victims’ white Ford Ranger.  Dempsey reported that the entire episode spanned two hours.  They drove to Hertz’ house so that they could divide the money and unload the stolen cargo. 

Testimony was given by two Tallahassee Wal-Mart employees stating that the three men showed off their new vehicles, a black Ford Mustang and a white Ford Ranger, after making a purchase at approximately 5 a.m.  The employees’ testimony was corroborated by a Wal-Mart receipt for clothes that was found in the victims’ Ford Mustang. 

Looney, Hertz, and Dempsey then drove to Daytona Beach, Florida, where they were involved in a shootout after a police pursuit.  Looney and Dempsey abandoned the victims’ Ford Mustang and were arrested as they were fleeing the scene.  Hertz was shot, abandoned the victims’ Ford Ranger and paid $100 for a cab-ride to his aunt’s St. Augustine home.  Hertz was arrested that day and police discovered Spears’ .9mm gun in Hertz’s bag. 

An FDLE firearms expert testified that one of the bullets fired in the victims’ home was fired from a .380 Lorcin gun that was in Looney’s possession when he was arrested.  The Lorcin gun had belonged to Spears and Dempsey reported that Hertz had used it to shoot the victims.  The police also found Dempsey’s wallet containing $380, Looney’s wallet containing $464, and a roll of duct tape in the victims’ Ford Mustang. 

Latent fingerprints that matched all three men were taken from the victims’ Ford Mustang.  Evidence of various accelerants were found on clothing in the victim’s Ford Mustang and an expert later testified that the extensive fire damage to the victims’ home could only have been accomplished with the use of accelerants. 

The bodies of Melanie King and Robin Keith Spears were both severely burned, but the medical examiner testified that both deaths were caused by gunshot wounds due to a lack of soot in the victims’ trachea, indicating that they were already dead when the fire started.  Further testimony indicated that both victims lived one to two minutes after being shot.

Codefendant Information:

For his part in the crimes, Jason Looney received two death sentences.  Jimmy Dempsey entered into a plea agreement with the State and was sentenced to life in prison.

Trial Summary:

08/26/97          The defendant indicted with the following:

Count I: First-Degree Murder
Count II: First-Degree Murder
Count III: Armed Burglary of a Dwelling
Count IV: Robbery with a Firearm
Count V: Arson of a Dwelling
Count VI: Use of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony

12/09/99          The defendant was found guilty on all counts

12/11/99          The jury recommended death by a vote of 10-2 on both counts.

02/18/00          The defendant was sentenced as follows:

Count I: First-Degree Murder – Death
Count II: First-Degree Murder – Death
Count III: Armed Burglary of a Dwelling – Life
Count IV: Robbery with a Firearm – Life
Count V: Arson of a Dwelling – 30 Years
Count VI: Use of a Firearm during the Commission of a
Felony – 15 Years

Case Information:

A Direct Appeal was filed with the Florida Supreme Court on 03/03/00.  Issues that were raised on appeal included whether the trial court erred by admitting gruesome photographs of the bodies, whether the trial court erred in finding Hertz competent to stand trial, and whether the trial was prejudiced by the extensive details of the collateral crimes in Volusia County.  The Florida Supreme Court found all of the claims either harmless or without merit and affirmed the conviction and sentence on 11/01/01.

A Petition for Writ of Certiorari was filed with the United States Supreme Court on 03/20/02 and was denied on 06/28/02.

A 3.851 Motion was filed with the State Circuit Court on 06/30/03 and was amended on 03/09/04.  On 12/30/04, the Motion was denied.

A 3.851 Motion Appeal was filed with the Florida Supreme Court on 01/12/05, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. On 06/22/06, the FSC affirmed the denial of the motion. 



home last updates contact