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Michael Gordon REYNOLDS





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Neighborhood disputes in a trailer lot
Number of victims: 3
Date of murder: July 21, 1998
Date of birth: July 27, 1955
Victims profile: Danny Privett, his girlfriend Robin Razor and their daughter Christina, 11
Method of murder: Beating with a broken concrete block - Stabbing with knife
Location: Seminole County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on September 19, 2003

Florida Supreme Court

opinion SC03-1919

DC#  324170
DOB:  07/27/55

Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, Seminole County Case # 98-3341
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Kenneth Lester Jr.
Attorney, Trial: Steven Lawrence – Special Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Robert Strain & David Gemmer – CCRC-M

Date of Offense: 07/21/98

Date of Sentence: 09/19/03

Circumstances of Offense:

On July 22, 1998, Shirley Razor went to visit her daughter, Robin Razor, who lived in a trailer lot in Geneva.  Robin Razor lived there with Danny Privett and their two daughters.  Shirley Razor went to the lot to help with renovating two mobile home trailers. 

When Shirely arrived, she saw Privett lying on the ground outside one of the trailers next to a jug of moonshine.  Since Privett was often drunk and passed out, Shirley thought nothing of it and went inside to have lunch. 

After finishing her lunch, Shirley went outside and took a closer look at Privett and discovered he was dead and had a hole in his head.  Shirley then looked into one of the other trailers and saw her daughter and 11-year-old granddaughter, Christina Razor, both dead inside.  

Privett died from blunt force trauma to the head from a broken concrete block.  Privett had no defensive wounds and was thought to have not seen the attacker coming at him.  Evidence showed he was standing outside urinating when he was hit from behind. 

Inside the trailer, Robin was found lying on the floor while Christina was in a seated position on the couch.  Robin had stab wounds to her neck and torso, multiple blows to the head, a broken neck and defensive wounds on her arms and hands.

The associate Orange County medical examiner testified that Robin had several shallow slash marks that indicated her attacker was trying to hurt or torment her without immediately killing her. 

Christina died from a stab wound to her sternum and also had contusions to her left eye and mouth.  When Christina’s body was discovered, his underwear were found off her body across the room, however, there was no evidence of sexual assault.

Razor and Privett’s other daughter, Danielle, had spent the night at a friends’ house on the evening the murders took place. 

She helped police investigators with solving the crime. She provided evidence of people who had disputes with the family and had ill feelings toward them.  Although Danielle did not name Michael Reynolds as a possible suspect, he soon became one.  

Reynolds lived on the same road as the victims and had gone to the local hospital the morning after the murders with a lacerated finger and sprained ankle that he supposedly received from an accident unrelated to the murders. 

Reynolds had a previous dispute with Privett over a trailer frame that was given to Privett that Reynolds had wanted for himself.  The dispute, however, was resolved and the two seemed to get along fine afterwards. 

Several pieces of evidence (cuttings from the victims’ couch, bedding and clothing and cuttings and sweepings of Reynolds’ car) were not submitted for forensic testing.  These pieces of evidence could possibly exonerate Reynolds or implicate him further.  The footprints found at the murder scene did not match Reynolds’. 

The results of the DNA testing of the blood samples found on the victims compared to Reynolds were inconclusive. Blood samples found on the victims’ clothing, bed linen and other household items were a positive match to Reynolds. 

Hairs were retrieved from the bloody hands of Robin Razor.  The hairs did not match Reynolds, and they were never compared to any other possible suspect. 

Additional Information:

Several mitigating factors were presented during trial, which included: Reynolds had a mentally and physically abusive father although he had a loving relationship with his mother and cared for his wheelchair-bound sister while growing up. 

Reynolds has also served time in prisons in Arizona, for shooting two people, and in Texas, for robbing a man at knifepoint. 

Trial Summary:

08/25/98           Indicted as follows:

Count I:            First-Degree Murder (Danny Ray Privett)

Count II:           First-Degree Murder (Robin Razor)

Count III:          First-Degree Murder (Christine Razor)

Count IV:           Armed Burglary

05/07/03          Jury returned guilty verdicts on counts II through IV and guilty of second-degree murder of Privett.

05/09/03           Jury recommended death by a vote of 12-0.

09/19/03           Sentenced as follows:

Count I:            Second-Degree Murder – Life

Count II:           First-Degree Murder – Death

Count III:          First-Degree Murder – Death

Count IV:           Armed Burglary – Life

Case Information:

On 10/27/03, Reynolds filed a direct appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.  Reynolds raised many issues in the appeal including: error by the trial court for excluding the entire sworn statement of an unavailable witness, the circumstantial evidence was insufficient to overcome reasonable doubt and convict the charges of murder, and the court refused to permit Reynolds to waive his right to a sentencing jury recommendation.  Reynolds also argued that error occurred in the court allowing the presentation of testimony regarding Reynolds’ prior violent crimes.  Reynolds contended that Florida’s capital sentencing scheme and penalty phase jury instructions unconstitutionally shift the burden of proof to the defendant, and that error occurred in refusing to consider residual doubt as a nonstautory mitigating circumstance to Reynolds’ guilt.  It was also contended that the death sentence was impermissibly imposed, since the court included improper aggravating circumstances, excluded existing mitigating circumstances, and failed to properly find the aggravating circumstances thus rendering the death sentence unconstitutional.  Also, comparison to other capital cases revealed that the only appropriate sentence is life.  Reynolds’s final argument is that the Florida death penalty procedure violated the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments under Ring v. Arizona.  

On 05/18/06, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the convictions and sentences. 

On 10/10/06, Reynolds filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court that was denied on 01/08/07.



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