Eighteenth Judicial Circuit,
Brevard County Case# 86-5546 CFA
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable
John Antoon, II
Attorney, Trial: Pro se with
the assistance of Sam Baxter Bradwell – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: James
B. Gibson – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:
Linda M. McDermott – Private
Date of Offense: 10/09/86
Date of Sentence: 03/04/88
Circumstances of the Offense:
George Porter and Evelyn
Williams began their romantic relationship in 1985. Porter moved into
Ms. Williams’ home. Ms. Williams’ daughter, Amber, and her sons did not
get along with Porter. In one instance during 10/1985, Ms. Williams left
the home for a vacation, and Amber locked Porter out of the house and
threatened him with a .357 magnum gun. When Ms. Williams returned from
her vacation she began living with Porter again. In 04/1986, Ms.
Williams called the police after an incident occurred between her and
Porter. After the event, Ms. Williams moved back to her own home.
In 07/1986, Porter vandalized
Ms. Williams’ car. Porter proceeded to telephone Ms. Williams’ friends
and family members and threatened Ms. Williams’ life as well as the
lives of her family. Soon after the phone calls, Porter moved to
Michigan. Ms. Williams did not have contact with Porter while he was
gone. During this time, Ms. Williams’ began a relationship with Walter
In 10/1986, Porter returned to
Florida. Upon his return, Porter telephoned Ms. Williams’ mother, Lora
Mae Meyer, stating that he would like to see Ms. Williams’ because he
had a gift for her. Ms. Meyer told Porter that Ms. Williams’ did not
want to have anything to do with Porter.
On 10/08/68, Porter was seen
driving through Ms. William’s neighborhood. Witnesses stated that Porter
had been drinking until 11:00 p.m. He eventually made contact with Ms.
Williams, which resulted in Ms Williams filing a report with the
On 10/09/86 at 5:30 a.m., Amber
Williams was awakened by two gunshots. Amber ran down the hall to the
kitchen where she fell on the floor. It was at this time that she saw
Porter standing over her mother’s body. Porter walked toward Amber,
placed the gun at her temple and stated, “boom, boom, you’re going to
die.” At this time Mr. Burrows appeared and attacked Porter. Mr. Burrows
was able to force Porter outside of the home. Amber reported hearing
another shot while the two men were outside. She ran to her mother and
then to the front door, which she shut and locked. Amber then called
John Williams was also awakened
at 5:30 a.m. by three gunshots. He lived three houses away from his
mother. He went to his mother’s house and saw police cars and Mr.
Burrows lying face-down in the front yard. At the time that the police
arrived, both Mr. Burrows and Ms. Williams were dead.
Porter was arrested at the
American Legion. He had gone there to have lunch after he had done some
work for a friend earlier that morning. As he was walking out of the
establishment, the bartender told Porter that she would see him later
and Porter replied, “No, I don’t think you will.”
Autopsies were performed on both
bodies. Ms. Williams died of massive hemorrhaging due to gunshot wounds
to the chest. The entrance wounds found on the body indicated that Ms.
Williams had been shot three to four times. Mr. Burrows died from
internal bleeding caused by a gunshot wound to his back. Ms. Williams
survived a few minutes after being shot; however, Mr. Burrows died
On 12/05/87, which
was during the trial, Porter told the judge that he wanted to plead
guilty to the murder charges and no contest to the other charges. The
judge refused to accept the pleas due to the fact that Porter denied
killing Ms. Williams but stated that he may have killed Mr. Burrows.
Porter then conceded to plead guilty to all four charges without
providing a factual basis for the pleas. The prosecution presented
factual support for the pleas and the trial court assessed the
voluntariness of Porter’s pleas. The night that the court accepted the
guilty pleas, Porter attempted suicide in his cell.
On 01/04/88, Porter
filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea stating that a guard
threatened to kill his son if he continued to stand trial. The court
denied Porter’s motion to withdraw his pleas. Porter was represented by
counsel at sentencing.
10/28/86 Indicted as
Count I: First-Degree Murder (Williams)
Count II: First-Degree Murder (Burrows)
Count III: Burglary
Count IV: Aggravated Assault
for counsel to withdraw due to representing witness in a prior matter.
The motion for counsel to withdraw was granted.
Defendant entered a written plea of not guilty.
Defendant entered a plea of guilty.
Motion to withdraw guilty plea.
Motion to withdraw guilty plea denied.
recommended death by the following votes:
Count I: 12-0
Count II: 10-2
03/04/88 Sentenced as
Count I: First-Degree Murder – Death
Count II: First-Degree Murder – Life
Count III: Burglary – Life
Count IV: Aggravated Assault – 5 years
Porter filed a Direct Appeal to
the Florida Supreme Court on 04/25/88. Porter claimed that the trial
court improperly accepted his guilty pleas and then improperly denied
the withdrawal of these same pleas. The Court found no error in regard
to these issues. The remaining issues in the appeal surrounded the
aggravating factors utilized in the sentencing phase of the trial.
Court found that the prosecution did not meet its burden of proof for
proving that the crime was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, but
it did prove beyond reasonable doubt that the murder was committed in a
cold, calculated and premeditated manner.
The Court affirmed the
conviction and sentence on 06/14/90. The rehearing was denied on
09/04/90 and the mandate was issued on 10/04/90.
Porter filed a Petition for
Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court on 12/05/90. The
petition was denied on 02/19/91.
Porter then filed a 3.850 Motion
in the Circuit Court on 06/22/92. The motion was denied on 08/18/93
because it did not contain a properly sworn oath. Porter filed a motion
for reconsideration that also was denied. Porter filed an appeal of the
trial court’s denial of the 3.850 Motion to the Florida Supreme Court on
The appeal was dismissed without prejudice on 11/29/94 due to
the State filing a Motion to Dismiss or Relinquish Jurisdiction for an
Evidentiary Hearing so that Porter could file a properly sworn motion.
During this same time, Porter filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus to the Florida Supreme Court on 06/06/94. The petition was denied
Porter filed an amended 3.850
Motion to the Circuit Court on 02/27/95. The Circuit Court held an
evidentiary hearing on 01/04/96 on the Porter’s claim of ineffective
assistance of counsel. The 3.850 Motion was again denied on 05/15/96.
Porter again filed an appeal of the trial court’s denial of the 3.850
Motion to the Florida Supreme Court on 07/22/96. Porter raised nine
issues in the appeal, five of which were procedurally barred because
they could have been raised on Direct Appeal.
The Court found three of
the remaining issues to be meritless. The remaining issue, ineffective
assistance of counsel in respect to the investigation and presentation
of evidence pertaining to mitigating factors, was denied by the trial
court and affirmed by the Florida Supreme Court. The Court affirmed the
trial court’s denial of the 3.850 Motion on 05/03/01. The rehearing was
denied on 06/20/01 and the mandate was issued on 07/20/01.
Porter filed a petition for Writ
of Habeas Corpus to the Florida Supreme Court on 12/06/01. Porter’s
main claim was ineffective assistance of collateral counsel. The Court
found this claim and its subclaims, to be either procedurally barred or
meritless. This petition was denied on 06/20/02.
On 10/06/01, Porter filed a
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to the Florida Supreme Court. The
petition was denied on 06/20/02. The rehearing was denied on 03/31/03.
On 10/14/03, Porter filed a
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to the United States District Court,
Middle District. On 05/20/04, the petition was amended. The petition
is currently pending.