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Richard E. LYNCH





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Extramarital affair - Debts
Number of victims: 2
Date of murder: March 5, 1999
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: June 19, 1953
Victims profile: Roseanna Morgan and her 13-year-old daughter, Leah Caday
Method of murder: Shooting (handgun)
Location: Seminole County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on April 3, 2001

Florida Supreme Court


opinion SC01-795

opinion SC06-2233


DC#  E08942
DOB:  06/19/53

Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, Seminole County, Case# 99-881-CFA
Sentencing Judge, Trial:  The Honorable O.H. Eaton
Attorney, Trial:  James Figgat – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal:  Christopher S. Quarles – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Marie-Louise Parmer & Leslie Scalley – CCRC-M

Date of Offense:  03/05/99     

Date of Sentence:  04/03/01

Circumstances of the Offense:

Richard Lynch pled guilty to the 03/05/99 murders of Roseanna Morgan and her 13-year-old daughter, Leah Caday.

Lynch admitted to having an extramarital affair with Roseanna Morgan between August 1998 and February 1999.  During that time, they had run up credit card bills. 

When Morgan ended the affair, Lynch asked her to assist in the credit card debt they had acquired together.  Additionally, Lynch wrote a letter to his wife prior to the events on 03/05/99, admitting to the affair. In the letter, he had directed his wife to letters and pictures Morgan had given Lynch during the affair. 

Lynch asked his wife to send the letters and pictures to Morgan’s family.  He wrote:  “I want them to have a sense of why it happened, some decent closure, a reason and understanding…”  A doctor for the State testified that this was evidence of a murder-suicide plot.

On 03/05/99, Lynch went to her apartment with 3 handguns with the intent of getting Morgan to pay off the credit card bills.  When he arrived at the apartment, Morgan was not there, but Caday was.  He showed her the gun he had on him and forced her to stay there with him until her mom returned. 

Lynch told detectives that he just planned on showing Morgan the guns to make her sit down and talk to him.  He further confessed to shooting her four or five times with one gun, bringing her into the apartment and then shooting her in the back of the head with a different gun.  Lynch then admitted that he shot Caday in her back.  Both Morgan and Caday died of their gunshot wounds.

Lynch had called 911 and admitted to the operator all of the above events and said he was going to kill himself. He also called his wife three times during the events, and she testified that she could hear a woman screaming in the background.  The second time he called, she testified that he admitted to shooting someone. 

A few of Morgan’s neighbors testified to the events of 03/05/99 as well.  One neighbor testified to looking out a peephole after hearing the first gunshots and seeing Morgan being dragged into her apartment by Lynch.  The neighbor further testified that Morgan was screaming and appeared to be bloody from the waist down. 

The neighbor also testified that, after Lynch closed the door, 3 more gunshots were heard.  Another neighbor also testified to hearing 3 more shots 5 or 7 minutes after the first shots.

After a standoff with the police, Lynch was arrested.  During the interview after his arrest, he confessed to all the events described.  


Trial Summary:

03/23/99          Indicted as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder
Count II:          First-Degree Murder
Count III:         Armed Burglary of a Dwelling
Count IV:          Kidnapping

10/19/00          Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment and waived his right to a penalty phase jury.

04/03/01          Jury recommended death by a vote of 12-0 and 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:          Kidnapping – Life


Case Information:

On 04/12/01, Lynch filed his Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.  During his appeal, Lynch made several claims.  The first claim was the trial court erred in the finding of HAC as an aggravating factor in Caday’s murder.  He also argues the trial court erred in the finding of CCP as an aggravating factor in Morgan’s murder. 

The FSC found that the trial court did not err in finding either the HAC or the CCP as aggravating factors.  They found that the suffering and emotional strain placed on Caday by holding her hostage and watching her mother be murdered before her own death was, in fact, enough to find the HAC aggravating factor. 

They also found that the murder of Morgan was cold, calculated and premeditated in that Lynch shot her 4 or 5 times before switching guns and then shooting her execution style.  Lynch also claims that the written sentencing order was not clear as to whether the judge found the mental health mitigators to be statutory or nonstatutory mitigators. 

Although the Court found that the sentencing order was not as clear as it could have been, it was not a reversible error.  The Court affirmed the convictions and sentences on 01/09/03.  Subsequently, Lynch’s Motion for Rehearing was denied on 03/21/03.

On 06/19/03, Lynch filed for a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, which was denied on 10/06/03.

On 07/26/04, Lynch filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court.  The lower court issued an order denying Lynch’s 3.850 Motion on 03/30/06.  On 04/03/06, the lower court issued an amended order denying Lynch’s 3.850 Motion.



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