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Faunce Levon PEARCE





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Drugs - Rape
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: September 14, 1999
Date of birth: March 20, 1962
Victim profile: Robert Crawford
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Pasco County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on February 14, 2002

Florida Supreme Court

opinion SC02-476 opinion SC07-201

DC# 741988
DOB: 03/20/62

Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pasco County Case# 99-3110
Sentencing Judge:  The Honorable Maynard F. Swanson, Jr.
Attorney, Trial:  Paul C. Helm – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal:  Alfred J. Ivie, Jr. – Private
Attorneys, Collateral Appeals:  Richard E. Kiley & James V. Viggiano – CCRC-M

Date of Offenses:  09/14/99

Date of Sentence:  02/14/02

Circumstances of Offense:

On 07/20/01, Faunce Levon Pearce was convicted of the murder of Robert Crawford and the attempted second-degree murder of Stephen Tuttle.  Pearce was sentenced to death for Crawford’s murder and sentenced to life for Tuttle’s attempted murder. 

On the evening of 09/13/99, Pearce visited his place of business and sought his coworkers’ teenage stepson, Ken Shook, for LSD gel tablets.  Shook and his friends, Stephen Tuttle and Robert Crawford, contacted Amanda Havner, who had a connection with an LSD saleswoman. 

Havner contacted Tanya Barcomb, who had close connections with an LSD supplier.  Pearce gave Shook, Tuttle, Havner and Crawford $1,200 and sent them to purchase a book of LSD gel tablets from Barcomb’s apartment.  Before leaving to pick up the drugs, Pearce warned them against returning without the drugs or the money.

When the four teenagers arrived at the Barcomb’s apartment complex, Barcomb and her boyfriend approached their car, took the $1,200, and told them to stay in the car while they bring the LSD out to them.  Barcomb and her boyfriend had planned on stealing the money upon their arrival. 

As Barcomb and her boyfriend entered the apartment complex, Barcomb’s boyfriend hid the money in his own shoe and punched himself in the mouth, to appear as though he was mugged.  Minutes later, Barcomb and her boyfriend returned to the car and claimed the drug supplier stole their money.  As a result of Barcomb’s deception, the four teenagers had no choice but to return to Pearce without his drugs or money.

Before the group of teens told Pearce about the situation, he received a call from Barcomb explaining that his money was stolen by the supplier and, consequently, his drugs were not available for him. 

Pearce became very angry and, once the teenagers arrived at his worksite, Pearce pointed his gun at them and ordered everyone to go into his office.  According to witness testimony, Pearce’s mood became calm and threatening inside his office. 

Havner made phone calls in an attempt to recover Pearce’s money, but was unsuccessful.  Pearce slammed Havner’s head into the wall and threatened to shoot her in the head.  Moments later, Havner was released when her brother arrived to pick her up.  Some time later, Pearce ordered Tuttle to perform oral sex on him while at gun point.

Pearce later called his friend, Theodore Butterfield, and requested that he bring weapons to his workplace.  On the way over, Butterfield was accompanied by Lawrence Joseph Smith and Heath Brittingham.  Pearce planned on beating and then interrogating Shook, Tuttle, and Crawford as to who had stolen his money. 

Pearce’s coworker, however, refused to allow Pearce to handle his stepson in such a manner and offered to drive Tuttle and Crawford home.  Pearce assured him that he just wanted to “rough them up” a bit until he got his money. 

Pearce, Butterfield, Smith, Brittingham, Tuttle, and Crawford crammed into Pearce’s two-door Trans Am, and were driven by Pearce to a deserted area.  Pearce ordered Tuttle out of the car and left it to Smith to “rough him up.”  Smith shot Tuttle in the back of his head with a .40-caliber pistol. 

Afterwards, Pearce drove 200 yards down the road and stopped at another site.  Pearce ordered Crawford out of the car and, despite Crawford pleading for his life, he shot Crawford in the arm and the head with the same pistol Tuttle was shot with.  Once the men left the scene, Smith threatened Butterfield and Brittingham that he would kill them if they “snitched.” 

On the morning of 09/14/99, police located and interviewed Butterfield and Brittingham.  Later in the day, Smith was arrested.  Pearce was arrested a few weeks later. 

Upon Pearce’s indictment, Butterfield and Brittingham agreed to cooperate with the State and testify against Pearce and Smith for assurance that they would not be charged with any the crimes related to these offenses.  In addition, Tuttle survived the gunshot wound to his head and also agreed to testify against Pearce and Smith. 

Codefendant Information:

Lawrence Joseph Smith (DC# R24256)

Pearce and Smith were indicted separately for the same offenses.  Smith was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted murder and sentenced to death (CC#01-2103).  On Direct Appeal, Smith’s convictions and life sentence for attempted murder were affirmed by the Florida Supreme Court.  Because of erroneous statements in the sentencing order, however, the Court remanded the case for resentencing for the first-degree murder conviction.

Trial Summary:

09/17/99          Indicted as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder with a Firearm

Count II:          Attempted Second-Degree Murder with a Firearm

07/20/01          Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment

03/01/02          Jury recommended death by a vote of 10-2

02/14/02          Sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder – Death

Count II:          Attempted Second-Degree Murder – 25 years

Case Information:

Prior to Pearce’s Direct Appeal, Pearce filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus to the Florida Supreme Court, which was denied on 03/12/02. 

On 02/28/02, Pearce filed a Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court, and there were many issues raised.  First, Pearce claimed the trial court erred by refusing to allow defense counsel to impeach Butterfield and Brittingham’s statement that was previously videotaped.  Second, there was concern for the issue of whether Crawford’s murder was premeditated, which also questioned the jury recommendation of death.  Third, Pearce claimed there was insufficient evidence that supported the trial court’s finding of cold, calculated, and premeditated (CCP) aggravating circumstances.  Finally, Pearce claimed the death sentence was disproportionate. 

On 07/01/04, the Florida Supreme Court found the trial court did not err and affirmed Pearce’s convictions and death sentence. 

On 09/01/05, Pearce filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court, which is currently pending.



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