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George PORTER Jr.





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Revenge
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: October 9, 1986
Date of birth: February 18, 1932
Victims profile: Evelyn Williams (his ex-girlfriend) and Walter Burrows (her new lover)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Brevard County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on March 4, 1988

The United States Court of Appeals
For the Eleventh Circuit

opinion 07-12976

Florida Supreme Court

opinion 72301 opinion SC88562 opinion SC01-2707

DC# 110825
DOB:  02/18/32

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 Burrows.

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 police. 

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 911.

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 instantly.

Additional Information:

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.

Trial Summary:

10/28/86          Indicted as follows:

Count I: First-Degree Murder (Williams)
Count II: First-Degree Murder (Burrows)
Count III: Burglary
Count IV: Aggravated Assault

03/20/87         Motion for counsel to withdraw due to representing witness in a prior matter.

04/30/87          The motion for counsel to withdraw was granted.

06/17/87          Defendant entered a written plea of not guilty.

12/07/87          Defendant entered a plea of guilty.

01/04/88          Motion to withdraw guilty plea.

01/21/88          Motion to withdraw guilty plea denied.

01/22/88          Jury recommended death by the following votes:

Count I: 12-0
Count II: 10-2

03/04/88          Sentenced as follows:

Count I: First-Degree Murder – Death
Count II: First-Degree Murder – Life
Count III: Burglary – Life
Count IV: Aggravated Assault – 5 years 

Case Information:

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.  

The 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 10/08/93.  

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 on 11/29/94.

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.



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