Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange
County Case# CR83-1682
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable
Michael F. Cycmanick
Trial Attorney: Theotis Bronson
– Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Larry
B. Henderson – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:
Linda M. McDermott – Private
Date of Offense: 03/31/83
Date of Sentence: 03/05/84
Circumstances of the Offense:
Robert Ira Peede drove his
motorcycle from Hillsboro, North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida on
03/30/83 with the intent of getting his estranged wife, Darla Peede, to
return to North Carolina with him.
The full extent of his plan was to
use Ms. Peede as a decoy to lure his former wife, Geraldine, and her
current boyfriend, Calvin Wagner, to a motel where he was going to kill
them. He sold his motorcycle and flew to Miami, Florida.
approximately 5:15 p.m., Peede called Darla and requested that she come
pick him up at the airport. Darla agreed but prior to her departure she
left strict instructions with her daughter to call the police if she was
not back by midnight and to give them the license plate number of her
Darla also gave her daughter both Geraldine’s and the Hillsboro
Police Department’s phone numbers. Darla feared that she would be forced
to return to North Carolina and would be killed with the others. She
purposefully only took her purse with her when she left her home.
According to Peede’s statements,
Darla picked him up at the airport. He then directed her to drive north
on Interstate 95. The two mistakenly got on to the turnpike heading
toward Orlando. As some point the song “Swinging” came on the radio. Due
to Peede’s belief that Darla and Geraldine had placed an ad for sexual
partners in the national magazine “Swinger,” Peede superficially cut
Darla in the side with his knife.
On the way to Orlando, the two
picked up a hitchhiker. The hitchhiker drove the car while the two had
intercourse in the back seat. Darla remained in the back seat and the
hitchhiker was dropped off in Orlando. Peede drove toward Daytona Beach
The two began discussing Peede’s idea about the advertisement in
the magazine “Swingers.” About five or six miles outside of Orlando,
Peede stopped the car on the shoulder of the road, jumped into the back
seat, and stabbed Darla in the neck. This wound resulted in Darla
bleeding to death within five to fifteen minutes.
Peede continued to drive to
North Carolina. He discarded Darla’s body in a wooded area in Camden,
Georgia. Peede threw his knife out of the car window at some point
during the drive.
Peede still had intentions of carrying out the murders
of Geraldine and Calvin; his shotgun was loaded and placed by the door
when he was arrested. Peede was arrested at his home in Hillsboro, North
Carolina. Darla’s car was parked outside of his residence. The car’s
interior was heavily bloodstained.
Peede wrote out a confession
stating that he killed Darla by stabbing her in the throat. Peede also
asked for the death penalty and for this sentence to be carried out as
soon as possible.
05/25/83 Indicted as
Count I: First-Degree Murder
05/31/83 Defendant pled
02/17/84 Jury returned
guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment
recommended death by a vote of 11-1
03/05/84 Sentenced as follows:
I: First-Degree Murder – Death
Peede filed a Direct Appeal to
the Florida Supreme Court 04/05/84. The main issue that Peede raised was
that the trial judge erred in allowing Peede to excuse himself from
attending his capital trial. The Court ruled the record supported the
trial court’s finding that Peede knowingly and voluntarily excused
himself from the courtroom.
The Court also stated a defendant can waive
his right to be present at stages of his capital trial if he personally
chooses to voluntarily absent himself; therefore, no reversible error
was committed by the trial court.
The Court affirmed Peede’s conviction
and sentence on 08/15/85. The rehearing was denied on 09/04/85 and the
mandate was issued on 10/11/85.
Peede filed a Petition for Writ
of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court on 12/05/85. The
Petition was denied on 06/23/86.
Governor Bob Martinez signed
Peede’s death warrant on 05/06/88. Peede then filed a 3.850 motion to
the Circuit Court on 06/06/88. A stay of execution was granted by the
Circuit Court on 06/24/88, but the motion was denied on 06/21/96.
Peede filed an appeal of the
trial court’s denial of the 3.850 Motion to the Florida Supreme Court on
03/03/97. The main issue raised in this appeal was the fact that the
trial court and the State conceded for the need for an evidentiary
hearing on certain claims and the trial court had scheduled a four-day
evidentiary hearing, but the hearing never took place and the motion was
The Court affirmed the trial court summary denial of many of the
claims, but remanded the case to the circuit court, on 08/19/99, for an
evidentiary hearing to be held on Peede’s Brady claim, the majority of
his ineffective assistance of counsel claims, his mental competence
claims, and his public records request. The motion was denied on
10/29/04, Peede filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court, which
is currently pending.
10/07/05, Peede filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to the
Florida Supreme Court, which is also pending.