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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Lawrence Joseph Smith (DC#
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.
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
Jury recommended death by a vote of 10-2
02/14/02 Sentenced as
Count I: First-Degree
Murder – Death
Count II: Attempted
Second-Degree Murder – 25 years
Prior to Pearce’s
Pearce filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus to the Florida
Supreme Court, which was denied on 03/12/02.
02/28/02, Pearce filed a Direct Appeal
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
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