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Alvin Leroy MORTON





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - Arson
Number of victims: 2
Date of murder: January 26, 1992
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: July 11, 1972
Victims profile: John Bowers and his mother Madeline Weisser
Method of murder: Shooting (shotgun) / Stabbing with knife
Location: Pasco County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on March 18, 1994. Resentenced to death on March 1, 1999

Florida Supreme Court

opinion 83422 opinion SC06-2091

DC# 309066
DOB:  07/11/72

Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pasco County, Case# 92-308-CFAWS
Sentencing Judge:  The Honorable Craig Villanti
Trial Attorneys:  John E. Swisher & Gary Urso – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal:  Steven L. Bolotin – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal (RS):  Paul C. Helm – Assistant Public Defender
Attorneys, Collateral Appeals:  Marie-Louise Parmer & Leslie Scalley – CCRC-M

Date of Offense:  01/26/92

Date of Sentence:  03/18/94

Date of Resentence:  03/01/99

Circumstances of the Offense:

Sometime in the late evening of 01/26/92 or early morning of 01/27/92, Alvin Morton, Bobby Garner, and Tim Kane entered the home of the victims, John Bowers and his mother Madeline Weisser.

Two individuals, Chris Walker and Mike Rodkey, went with the defendant but did not enter the residence. Morton carried a shotgun while one of the other men carried a large serrated knife.

The three men entered the living room looking for something to take. Bowers and Weisser entered the room from another part of the house. Morton ordered them to get on the floor.

At this point, Bowers agreed to give them whatever they wanted and pleaded for his life. Morton replied that Bowers would call the police. Bowers insisted that he would not call the police, but Morton replied, “That is what they all say,” and shot Bowers in the back of the neck, killing him.

Morton then attempted to shoot Weisser, but the gun jammed. Morton then tried to stab Weisser, but the knife would not penetrate the victim. Garner then stepped on the knife and pushed it in.

Eventually, Weisser was stabbed eight times in the back of the neck resulting in the severing of her spinal cord and her death. Before the three men left the home, either Garner or Morton cut off one of Bower’s pinky fingers, which they later showed to Jeff Madden, a friend.

The police and firefighters went to the victims’ residence on a tip. They found that mattresses had been set on fire and discovered the bodies. The police found Morton hiding in the attic of his home. They found the murder weapons underneath Garner’s mother’s trailer. Morton eventually confessed to the shooting of Bower and aiding in the first cut on Weisser.

Trial Summary:

02/04/92          Indicted as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder

Count II:          First-Degree Murder

02/07/92          Pled not guilty

02/04/94          Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment

02/09/94          Jury recommended death by a vote of 11-1

03/18/94          Sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder – Death

Count II:          First-Degree Murder – Death

02/18/99          Order returning defendant for resentencing

03/01/99          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury recommended death by a vote of 11-1 and Morton was resentenced to death

Case Information:

Morton filed a Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on 03/28/94. The Direct Appeal raised the issue of possible improper impeachment of witnesses by the State. The Court ruled that the “cumulative effect of continual impeachment [of witnesses] made it all the more difficult for the jury to separate substantive evidence from the evidence it had been instructed to consider solely for impeachment.” This error was ruled harmless beyond a reasonable doubt in regard to the guilt phase, but the Court was unable to confidently conclude that the jury’s recommended sentence of death was reliable.

On 03/06/97, the conviction was affirmed, but the case was remanded to the Circuit Court for a new sentencing phase. The order for resentencing was dated 02/18/99, and a new jury, with a vote of 11-1, recommended the death sentence for the two murders.

Morton filed a Direct Appeal for resentencing to the Florida Supreme Court on 03/25/99.  Four claims were presented on appeal.  The Court ruled only one claim to have error, the failure to consider Morton’s antisocial personality disorder as a mitigating factor.  This error was found to be harmless and the Court affirmed the death sentences on 06/28/01.

On 06/28/02, Morton filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court.  An amended Motion was filed.  The lower court denied all claims filed in Morton’s 3.850 Motion on 04/04/06.  On 09/13/06, the lower court issued an order granting the Motion for rehearing.



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