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Lenard James PHILMORE





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Carjacking
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: November 14, 1997
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: October 25, 1976
Victim profile: Kazue Perron (female)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Martin County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on July 21, 2000

Florida Supreme Court

opinion SC00-1706 opinion SC04-1036 & SC05-250

DC# 314648  
DOB: 10/25/76

Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, Martin County, Case# 97-1672
Sentencing Judge, Trial:  The Honorable Cynthia Angelos
Attorneys, Trial:  Sherwood Bauer & Thomas Garland – Assistant Public Defenders
Attorney, Direct Appeal:  Patrick C. Rastatter – Assistant Public Defender
Attorneys, Collateral Appeals:  Richard E. Kiley & James V. Viggiano – CCRC-M

Date of Offense:  11/14/97     

Date of Sentence:  07/21/00

Circumstances of Offense:

Lenard Philmore was convicted in the 11/14/97, murder of Kazue Perron and sentenced to death. 

Philmore and Anthony Spann, the codefendant, wanted to go to New York and decided to rob a store to obtain the money required to get there.  Their first attempt to rob a pawnshop failed and, subsequently, they decided to rob a bank. 

On 11/13/97, after picking up their girlfriends, Spann told Philmore that in order to rob a bank, they needed to steal a car to use as a getaway vehicle.  Spann also told Philmore they had to kill the driver.  

On 11/14/97, Philmore and Spann started to search for a car to steal at the Palm Beach Mall.  Using Spann’s Subaru, they followed a woman in her vehicle to another mall, but failed to steal her car.  Then, they noticed Perron driving her Lexus in a nearby neighborhood and began to follow her.

Philmore and Spann followed Perron until she pulled into a driveway.  Spann then told Philmore to “get her.”  Spann walked up to Perron, who was still in her car, and asked if he could use her phone, but she told him she did not live in the house.  Philmore then took out his gun and ordered her to move over to the passenger side of the car.  Philmore drove Perron’s Lexus while Spann followed in his Subaru.  During the drive, Perron was crying and told Philmore she was scared.

Spann flashed his lights at Philmore indicating that he wanted to pull over.  Spann then told Philmore to take Perron to the bank.  Philmore asked her if she had any money in her account.  She told him no but offered to give him the $40 she had with her.  Philmore took off her rings and stored them in the armrest of the Lexus.  Perron asked if Philmore or Spann was going to kill her, and he replied that no one was going to kill her.

After they continued to drive for a while, Spann flashed his lights again indicating that they should turn down a street.  They were then in western Martin County.  Once they stopped, Philmore told Perron to get out of the car and to start to walk toward some high vegetation in the area.  Perron began to resist and Philmore shot her once in the head. Philmore put the body in the vegetation.  

Philmore and Spann, both still in the separate cars, then drove to Indiantown and stopped at a store where Spann pointed out a bank for them to rob.  Philmore left the Lexus a distance from the bank and rode with Spann.  While Spann was waiting in the car, Philmore went into the bank, grabbed $1100 from the teller, and returned to the Subaru.  They then drove to the Lexus, hid the Subaru and drove away.  Philmore discarded his tank top out of the car window, which had Perron’s blood on it. 

They drove back to Palm Beach County to pick up their girlfriends and eat.  Philmore then wanted to go to a house because he had left his shoes there.  Upon driving to the house, they spotted an undercover police vehicle near the house.  The officer in the vehicle recognized Spann because of an outstanding warrant he had.  Spann, with Philmore and the two girls in the car, sped away and the officer followed, which began a high-speed chase on Interstate 95.

The chase led them back to Martin County, where a tire blew out on the Lexus.  All four of them hid in a nearby orange grove, but were discovered by the manager of the grove.  The manager told authorities where to find them and they were arrested.  

During the Police interviews Philmore confessed to the robbery, stealing the car and shooting Perron.  On 11/21/97, Philmore took the police to the spot they had left Perron’s body.

Trial Summary: 

11/14/97          Defendant was arrested

12/16/97          Indicted as follows:

Count I: First-Degree Murder (Perron)
Count II: Conspiracy to Commit Robbery with a Deadly Weapon                                 
Count III: Carjacking with a Deadly Weapon
Count IV: Kidnapping
Count V: Robbery with a Deadly Weapon
Count VI: Grand Theft

02/24/98          Defendant entered a written plea of not guilty

01/20/00          Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment

01/28/00          Jury recommended death by a vote of 12-0

07/21/00          Sentenced as follows:

Count I: First-Degree Murder (Perron) – Death
Count II: Conspiracy to Commit Robbery with Deadly Weapon - 15 years                       
Count III: Carjacking with a Deadly Weapon – Life
Count IV: Kidnapping – Life
Count V: Robbery with a Deadly Weapon – Life
Count VI: Grand Theft – 5 years

Codefendant Information:

Anthony Spann (DC# 347463)

Spann was indicted by the same grand jury with the same charges as Philmore, but they were tried separately.  Spann received a death sentence and is currently on death row appealing his conviction and sentence (CC# 97-3500). 

Case Information:

On 08/21/00, Philmore filed his Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.  Philmore contended that the trial court erred in not suppressing his statements made to the officers while being questioned about the circumstances. He also claimed that the trial court erred in not finding error in the State’s peremptory challenge that was not race-neutral. 

Philmore argued that the trial court wrongly dismissed his motion to exclude pictures of the victim’s body.  He also claimed that the State made improper statements during both the guilt and penalty phase.  

Philmore claimed that the trial court improperly found the “avoid arrest” aggravator.  He contended that the trial court failed by rejecting the under extreme mental disturbance, substantial domination of another and the impairment of capacity mitigators.  The Florida Supreme Court found no merit to any of Philmore’s arguments and affirmed his conviction and sentence on 05/30/02.

On 07/05/02, Philmore filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, which subsequently was denied on 10/07/02.

On 09/16/03, Philmore filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court, which was denied on 05/13/04.

On 06/14/04, Philmore filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.  On appeal, Philmore asserts that the trial court erred in denying several of his claims of ineffective counsel (during pre-indictment trial, jury selection, penalty phase, and in conceding Philmore’s guilt).  Accordingly, Philmore’s reliance on the Court’s 2003 decision in the Nixon case to support his claim of ineffective counsel is without merit.  On 06/15/06, the Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of Philmore’s 3.850 Motion.

On 02/09/05, Philmore filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to the Florida Supreme Court.  Philmore raised four claims the trial failed to consider:  (1) expert testimony, (2) the constitutionality of Florida’s death penalty statute, (3) ineffective assistance of trial counsel, (4) jury instructions, and (5) competency at the time of execution (violation of his Eighth Amendment rights).  Philmre argues that the cumulative effect of the trail errors deprived him of a fundamentally fair trail. 

Since the Court concluded that Philmore’s other claims were without merit or were procedurally barred, the Court further concluded that Philmore that there was no cumulative effect to consider and was not deprived of a fundamentally fair trial.  The Petition was denied on 06/15/06.


Lenard James Philmore



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