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Jonathan Huey LAWRENCE





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Mutilation
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: May 7, 1998
Date of birth: April 12, 1975
Victim profile: Jennifer Robinson, 18
Method of murder: Shooting (Lorcin .380 handgun)
Location: Santa Rosa County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on August 15, 2000

Supreme Court of Florida


opinion SC00-1827

opinion SC06-352


DC#  898522
DOB:  04/12/75

First Judicial Circuit, Santa Rosa County Case# 98-270
Sentencing Judge:  The Honorable Paul A. Rasmussen
Attorney, Trial:  Antoinette M. Stitt – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal:  Chet Kaufman & David A. Davis – Assistant Public Defenders
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Michael P. Reiter – Registry

Date of Offense: 05/07/98

Date of Sentence: 08/15/00

Circumstances of Offense:

On 03/24/00, Jonathan Huey Lawrence was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Jennifer Robinson, conspiracy to commit the murder, providing alcoholic beverages to a minor and abuse of a human corpse.

On 05/07/98, Lawrence and his friend, Jeremiah Martel Rodgers, picked up 18-year-old Jennifer Robinson from her mother’s home.  They drove to a secluded area in the woods where the three consumed alcoholic beverages. 

Robinson had sex with Lawrence and then Rodgers while under the influence of the alcoholic beverages provided by the two men.  After having sex with both men, Robinson was shot in the back of the head by Rodgers with a Lorcin .380 handgun.  Robinson died minutes later.

Lawrence and Rodgers loaded the body into Lawrence’s truck and drove deeper into the woods.  After finding a stopping place, Lawrence scored Robinson’s calf and removed her muscle.  Rodgers photographed Lawrence’s procedure with a Polaroid camera and each took turns posing with Robinson’s body.  Afterwards, they buried Robinson at the site.

Robinson’s disappearance was traced to Lawrence and Rodgers.  The men were confronted by an investigator and they denied ever knowing Robinson.  Lawrence gave his consent for the investigator to search his trailer and truck. 

The investigator discovered the photographs of Robinson’s body taken during mutilation, disturbing notes written about the mutilation, a Lorcin .380 handgun, and miscellaneous artifacts of the murder event.  Lawrence was instantly arrested by the investigator and confessed to his involvement; he then led investigators to Robinson’s body.

Lawrence was indicted on 06/04/98 and pled guilty on four counts: Count I, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder; Count II, giving alcoholic beverages to a minor; Count III, first-degree premeditated murder; and Count IV, abuse of a human corpse.  Lawrence filed for a direct appeal on 03/27/00. 

Codefendant Information:

Jeremiah Martel Rodgers (DC# 123101)

Rodgers pled guilty for the same offenses as Lawrence.  Their prosecutions were conducted separately in the First Circuit Court of Santa Rosa County (CC# 98-274) 

Trial Summary:

06/04/98          Indicted as follows:

Count I: Conspiracy to Commit First-Degree Murder
Count II: Giving Alcoholic Beverages to a Person Under Twenty-one
Count III: First-Degree Premeditated Murder
Count IV: Abuse of a Human Corpse

03/24/00          Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment

03/30/00          Jury recommended death by a vote of 11-1

08/15/00          Sentenced as follows:  

Count I: Conspiracy to Commit First-Degree Murder – 18Y, 5M, 15D
Count II: First-Degree Murder – Death
Count III: Abuse of Human Corpse – 15Y

Case Information:

On 3/27/00, Lawrence filed a Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.  There were numerous issues raised.  First, Lawrence claimed the trial court failed to appoint medical experts and order an evidentiary competency hearing regarding his current mental and psychological disturbances, which were of a serious nature. 

Second, Lawrence contended that the trial court erred again by excluding Rodgers’ criminal history, as Lawrence claimed that he acted under extreme duress through his involvement with Rodgers. 

Third, Lawrence argued that the trial court erroneously discovered the cold, calculated, and premeditated aggravator (CCP), indicating that Lawrence had a prearranged plan to kill Robinson. 

Fourth, Lawrence claimed that the trial court committed reversible error by including non-recorded facts on the CCP findings and by ambiguously assigning weight to the mitigator. 

Fifth, Lawrence raised the constitutionality of the death sentence, indicating that it violated Florida, federal, and international law.  Sixth, Lawrence claimed the trial court erred in denying his motion for a mistrial, as a result of the trial court committing reversible error by overruling Lawrence’s objections to the investigator’s opinion on Lawrence’s alter ego. 

Finally, Lawrence claimed that his sentence was disproportionate to the circumstances of the crime in that there were more mitigating than aggravated circumstances. Because the sentencing order of this case found extensive aggravating circumstances and substantial mitigating circumstances, the Court believed the trial judge properly weighed these circumstances in delivering his death sentence.  Thus, the Court upheld his death sentence on 03/20/03.

On 07/15/03, Lawrence filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, which was denied on 10/14/03. 

On 9/10/04, Lawrence filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court.  The Motion was amended on 02/11/05, and was denied on 01/26/06.

On 02/22/06, Lawrence filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court, which is currently pending.



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