Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.




Thomas Dewey POPE





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Drugs
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: January 19, 1981
Date of birth: January 29, 1949
Victims profile: Kristine Walters, Al Doranz and Caesar Di Russo
Method of murder: Shooting / Drowning
Location: Broward County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on April 7, 1982

Florida Supreme Court

opinion 67054 opinion 89084

DC# 083040
DOB:  01/29/49

Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County Case# 81-3047CF
Sentencing Judge:  The Honorable Arthur J. Franza
Attorney, Trial:  Scott T. Eber – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal:  Michael D. Gelety – Special Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Rachel L. Day – CCRC-S

Date of Offense:  01/19/81

Date of Sentence:  04/07/82

Circumstances of the Offense: 

The two victims, Al Doranz and Caesar Di Russo, were killed on 01/16/81. Pope was convicted of their murder in addition to the murder of Kristine Walters.

Thomas Pope and Susan Eckard, Pope’s girlfriend, admitted being with Al Doranz and Kristine Walters, Doranz’s girlfriend, at Ms. Walters’ apartment on the night of 01/16/81.

Eckard testified that she and Pope had left the apartment to visit Clarence ‘Buddy’ Lagle and to pick up some hamburgers. Lagle later testified at the trial that he had made a silencer for an AR-7 rifle for Pope. Eckard and Pope then returned to Walters’ apartment.

Pope and Doranz talked Walters into going with Eckard to the apartment where Pope was staying at the time. Pope did not go with the two women. Eckard testified that Pope had arranged a drug deal with Doranz and Di Russo.

Sometime later that night, Pope showed up at his own apartment. He told Walters that something had happened and Doranz had been injured, and that she should stay at his apartment for a while. Eckard testified that, at this time, she knew that Di Russo and Doranz were dead.

On Saturday, 01/17/81, Walters checked into a hotel. From this time, up until her death, Pope supplied Walters with drugs. Pope told Eckard that he would have to kill Walters, and that he felt bad because he had started to like Walters.

On Sunday, 01/18/81, Pope told Walters that he would take her to see Doranz. Pope drove her to a canal. According to the medical examiner’s testimony, Walters was shot six times with exploding ammunition. She was shot from the rear and shot twice with the gun pressed up to her abdomen.

At some point, Walters had made an attempt to get away. The gunshot wounds would have been extremely painful, but would not have caused a loss of consciousness. Pope then hit Walters over the head with the gun barrel. This blow caused the barrel to break. Pope then dragged Walters to the nearby canal and threw her in. She was still alive, but subsequently drowned. Parts of the rifle were found near the canal.

Eckard testified that Pope described the murder to her when he returned. He told her about the rifle breaking, and the next day the two went back to the scene to pick up all of the pieces.

The bodies of Al Doranz and Caesar Di Russo were found in Walters’ apartment on 01/19/81. Doranz had been shot three times and Di Russo had been shot five times. A 22-caliber shell casing was found under Di Russo’s body. Walters’ body was found on 01/21/81, floating in the canal.

Sometime in early January of 1981, Al Doranz had purchased an AR-7 rifle for Thomas Pope.

Trial Summary:

03/25/81          Indicted as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder (Di Russo)
Count II:          First-Degree Murder (Doranz)
Count III:         First-Degree Murder (Walters)

02/25/82          Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment.

02/25/82          Jury recommended death by a vote of 9-3 for Count III.

04/07/83          Sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder – Life
Count II:          First-Degree Murder – Life
Count III:         First-Degree Murder – Death

Case Information:

Pope filed a Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on 05/13/82. His appeal included the following issues in regard to his conviction: the evidence at trial was insufficient to sustain a conviction and a videotaped deposition of a witness should not have been admitted into evidence because the state did not prove the witness’s unavailability at the time of the trial.

The court found both of these issues to be meritless. The remaining issues raised on appeal were surrounding the aggravating and mitigating factors. The court ruled that there was no abuse of discretion by the trial court or that the issues were meritless.

The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence on 10/27/83. The rehearing was denied on 01/11/84, and the mandate was issued on 02/17/84. 

Pope filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court on 09/18/84. The motion was denied on 12/30/86.

Pope filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to the Florida Supreme Court on 05/22/85. Pope claimed ineffective assistance of counsel because his attorney failed to raise the issue of alleged prejudicial comments made by the judge and the prosecution during the trial. Pope contended that these comments denied him a fair trial, and therefore he deserves either a new trial or a new sentencing phase.

The Court ruled that the comments did not rob Pope of a fair trial nor did they constitute fundamental error, therefore, the case did not merit a retrial or a resentencing. The Florida Supreme Court denied the petition on 10/16/86.

Pope filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court on 01/14/87. The petition was denied on 03/30/87.

Pope filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on 08/24/89. The main issue in the appeal was again based on ineffective assistance of counsel, specifically that Pope’s trial attorney failed to object to the separation of the jury during deliberations. The Court rejected this as fundamental error and affirmed the trial court’s denial of the 3.850 Motion on 10/11/89. The rehearing was denied and the mandate was issued on 12/17/90.

Pope filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to the United States District Court, Southern District, on 09/09/91. The state argued that some of the claims raised in the petition had not been exhausted in the state courts; therefore, the petition was dismissed without prejudice on 03/28/94.  Approximately five years later, Pope filed a motion to reopen this case on 02/19/99. 

On 02/23/99, an order to reopen the case was issued by the United States District Court.  On 04/19/00, the Court filed an order dismissing certain claims in the petition and requiring further debriefing on some remaining claims. 

On 02/05/02, Pope filed a Motion to Hold Proceedings in Abeyance pending deposition of the State Court proceedings.  On 03/19/02, an order was issued by the Court granting the above motion. On 03/25/02, the case was closed by the Court.  Pope reinstated the Habeas Petition on 12/11/03.  The petition was amended on 04/26/04, and is currently pending.

Pope filed a second 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court on 04/06/95. After the filing of the 3.850 Motion, Pope filed the following pro se motions: Motion to Hold Proceedings in Abeyance Pending Resolution of Status of Representation, Motion to Hearing to Determine Competency of Appointed Collateral Counsel and Consolidated Motion for the Appointment of the Capital Collateral Representative. Pope’s volunteer counsel filed a motion to withdraw, but the court mandated that the attorney stay with the case until the 3.850 Motion was resolved, and then they would be allowed to withdraw. The circuit court denied Pope’s 3.850 Motion on 05/29/96. 

Pope filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on 10/17/96. Pope again raised issues surrounding ineffective assistance of counsel. The state dubbed the motion successive due to the fact that all of the claims should have been raised in the original 3.850 Motion. Pope’s stance was that his case had unique circumstances that constituted a need to vary from procedural guidelines even though the motion had been filed after the expiration of the time limit.

The Court found the issues that Pope raised to be procedurally barred. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of Pope’s 3.850 Motion on 12/04/97. The rehearing was denied on 02/19/98, and the mandate was issued on 03/23/98.

Pope filed his third 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court on 02/04/02. The motion was denied on 04/23/02.

Pope filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on 05/20/02.  The Court affirmed the denial of his 3.850 Motion on 04/11/03. 

Pope filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to the Florida Supreme Court on 08/21/02, which was denied on 04/11/03.

On 09/13/05, Pope filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to the Florida Supreme Court, which was denied on 11/03/05.  On 01/18/06, the rehearing was denied.


Thomas Dewey Pope



home last updates contact