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Jeffrey Allen MUEHLEMAN





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: May 5, 1983
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: October 31, 1964
Victim profile: Earl Baughman, 97
Method of murder: Suffocation
Location: Pinellas County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on June 8, 1984. Resentenced to death on October 10, 2003

Florida Supreme Court

opinion 65546 opinion 74270
opinion SC05-353

DC# 094506
DOB:  10/31/64

Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pinellas County, Case# 83-4924
Sentencing Judge:  The Honorable Crockett Farnell
Trial Attorneys:  Robert McMillan and Stephen Everhart Ė Assistant Public Defenders
Attorney, Direct Appeal:  Robert F. Moeller Ė Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  John E. Swisher Ė Court-appointed

Date of Offense:  05/05/83

Date of Sentence:  06/08/84

Date of Resentence:  10/10/03

Circumstances of the Offense:

Earl Baughman, the 97-year-old victim, hired Muehleman as a helper on 05/02/83. Muehleman posed himself as Jeff Williams. By the afternoon of 05/04/83, Muehleman had made a decision to rob and murder the victim. He asked an acquaintance for help with the robbery and in disposing of the body.

On the evening of 05/04/83, when this acquaintance did not show up, Muehleman decided to go through with the crime himself. He set the kitchen table with two almost empty coffee cups and spread breadcrumbs on the table. These actions were an attempt to create the illusion that the two had eaten breakfast and then gone out for a ride in the victimís car. Muehleman then proceeded to wipe down the residence to eliminate his fingerprints.

Muehleman used a cast iron frying pan to repeatedly hit the victim, who was asleep in his bed. These blows did not kill the victim, so Muehleman attempted to strangle the victim, but Muehleman was unable to restrict the blood flow to the brain. The victim lay in his bed helpless and looking at Muehleman in the face and was conscious long enough to beg his attacker for mercy.

Muehleman then removed the plastic wrappers from two newspapers and shoved them into the victimís throat. The bags indicated that the victim was still breathing so Muehleman forced them deeper into the victimís throat. The victim eventually died.

Muehleman then stole $150 and other items from the victim. He wrapped his body in the bloody bedcovers and put it in the trunk of the victimís car. Muehleman returned to the garage where he was living and hid the cash and other items that he had stolen. He then returned to the victimís residence and burned, some of the bloody linens along with the victimís identification in a barrel in the back yard. He then wiped down the car to rid it of fingerprints and drove it to a nearby apartment complex where he abandoned it.

Suspicion surrounded the victimís disappearance because he did not drive. On 05/06/83, a witness told police that he had seen the car that had been described in a broadcast in front of the garage where Muehleman lived.

A police officer went to the garage to question Muehleman; he was told that Muehleman was not home but would return shortly. Upon leaving the garage, the police officer spotted Muehleman who saw the police car and proceeded to cover his face.

The officer grabbed him by the arm and inquired about his name; Muehleman responded with ďEd BuchananĒ. The witnessís identification of Muehleman as Jeff, resulted in Muehleman being arrested on obstruction of justice charges due to providing false information to the officer.

Muehleman agreed to talk to the police and denied any involvement in the victimís disappearance. He did indicate that he had taken some items without the victimís permission. On 05/09/83, Muehleman invoked his right to remain silent.

On 05/15/83, the body was found in the trunk of the car. Muehleman still proclaimed his innocence to authorities, but had approached a fellow inmate, Ronald Rewis, and began discussing the murder. Rewis agreed to work with the authorities and taped conversations that he had with Muehleman.

On 06/08/83, Muehleman requested an interview with the authorities at which time he was informed of the evidence against him and he confessed. He was booked on first-degree murder on the same day. On 06/10/83 he gave his final statement. Subsequently, Muehleman moved to suppress these statements and the physical evidence. The motion was denied, and Muehleman pled guilty.

Trial Summary:

06/28/83          Defendant was indicted as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder

07/18/83          Entered a written plea of not guilty

08/16/83          Entered a plea of not guilty

05/01/84          Withdrew plea of not guilty and entered a plea of guilty

06/06/84          Jury recommended a sentence of death by a vote of 10-2

06/08/84          Defendant was sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First Degree Murder Ė Death

10/10/03          Resentenced to death

Case Information:

Muehleman filed his direct appeal on 07/09/84 to the Florida Supreme Court. The main issues of this appeal were that Muehlemanís Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth amendment rights had been violated. The Court found no violations of Muehlemanís rights and affirmed his conviction and sentence on 01/08/87.

Muehleman then filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court on 05/21/87. The petition was denied on 10/05/87.  

Governor Bob Martinez signed a death warrant for Muehleman on 05/01/89. During this time, Muehleman filed a 3.850 motion with the circuit court. The circuit court granted a stay of execution on 06/30/89 but denied the 3.850 Motion on 01/28/92. Muehleman had previously filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on 06/06/89. Muehleman then filed a 3.850 appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.

These two cases were both remanded to the circuit court due to the fact that the trial court denied Muehlemanís 3.850 Motion while simultaneously granting his public records request. Therefore, the Court relinquished jurisdiction of the case to the trial court and granted him thirty days from the date that he received the requested records to file an amended 3.850 motion. On 04/18/01, Muehleman filed a motion pro se to relinquish jurisdiction to the Court. An order was issued on 05/02/01 returning jurisdiction to the Court.

On 09/17/02, the Florida Supreme Court remanded the case to the Circuit Court for a new penalty-phase.

On 03/02/05, Muehleman filed an appeal for resentencing to the Florida Supreme Court, which is currently pending.



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