Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Drugs
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: July 24, 1994
Date of arrest: August 10, 1994
Date of birth: November 28, 1965
Victim profile: Jane Silvia (his girlfriend)
Method of murder: Hitting with a hammer - Stabbing with knife
Location: Orange County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on April 12, 1995. Resentenced to death on August 15, 1997

Florida Supreme Court

opinion 85605 opinion 91317 opinion SC03-1229

DC# 713735

Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange County, Case #CR94-9210
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Dorothy Russell
Attorneys, Trial: Michael L. Irwin and Mark C. Bender – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Charles S. Quarles – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  James Lewis & Melissa Minsk Donoho – Registry

Date of Offense:  07/24/94

Date of Sentence:  04/12/95

Date of Re-sentence:  08/15/97

Circumstances of Offense:

Michael Robinson was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of his girlfriend, Jane Silvia. 

On 08/08/94, Michael Robinson’s mother contacted the police.  She told them that her son had admitted killing his girlfriend, Jane Silvia.  Acting on this information, the police searched Robinson’s recently vacated residence. They discovered bloodstains on the carpet.

On 08/10/94, Robinson was arrested for unrelated misdemeanor drug charges.  Robinson was read Miranda Warnings, which he waived.  He told police that five drug dealers killed Silvia in his apartment when they were trying to retrieve drug money.  Robinson said that the men hit her with a hammer and stole $100.  After the men left, he buried the body.

On 08/16/94, Robinson told the police a different story and said that he stole items, such as electronic equipment, from Silvia’s place to buy crack cocaine.  The state determined that Robinson had an extensive history of drug abuse, including alcohol, marijuana and crack cocaine. 

Robinson’s mother sent money to Silvia to replace the items that Robinson stole.  Silvia and Robinson went to the drug dealer to whom Robinson had sold the stolen items.  The drug dealer told Robinson and Silvia that he had sold Silvia’s property.

Robinson reported that on the night of the murder, 07/24/94, Silvia fell asleep on the couch.  After she fell asleep, he retrieved a long-handled, steel dry wall hammer with a waffle pattern head and a claw on the back. 

When Robinson came back inside with the hammer, Silvia partially woke up.  Robinson sat watching her and waited for her to fall back asleep.  After Silvia fell back asleep, he walked around the back of the couch and began hitting her in the head with the hammer, each time pushing it through her skull. 

He turned the hammer around and used the claw part on her also.  Robinson then retrieved a serrated turkey carving knife. He stuck the knife into the soft part of her throat and down into her chest to stop her from breathing and her heart from beating.  He then wrapped Silvia’s body in material and buried her.  Robinson took the police to where he had buried Silvia.

Robinson told the police that he had loved Silvia, but he killed her to stop her from confirming a police report that she had filed after Robinson stole her belongings.  Robinson also said that he killed Silvia to retrieve money that she was keeping in her shoe.

Trial Summary:

08/10/94          Robinson was arrested.

08/22/94          Robinson was indicted on the following:

 Count I:          First-Degree, Premeditated Murder (Jane Silvia)

01/23/95          Robinson pled guilty.

03/30/95          Robinson waived the right to a penalty phase jury.

04/12/95          Robinson was adjudicated guilty for Count I.

04/12/95          Robinson was sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree, Premeditated Murder (Jane Silvia) Death

11/21/96          FSC affirmed the conviction; however, FSC reversed the sentence.

08/15/97          Robinson was resentenced as follows:

Count I:            First-Degree, Premeditated Murder (Jane Silvia) Death

Case Information:

Robinson filed his first Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 04/26/95.  The issues addressed included that the trial court erred in handling mitigation, finding pecuniary gain, and in finding the crime cold, calculated, and premeditated.  The Florida Supreme Court found error in the trial court’s handling of mitigating factors and affirmed the conviction, but remanded the case to the trial court for a new penalty phase hearing 11/21/96.  A mandate was issued on 12/23/96.

On remand from the Florida Supreme Court for a new penalty phase hearing, Robinson was resentenced to death on 08/15/97.

Robinson filed his second Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 09/08/97.  The issues addressed included that the trial court erred in not allowing Robinson to withdraw his guilty plea, denying Robinson additional funds for investigation, finding pecuniary gain, and in finding the crime cold, calculated, and premeditated.  Robinson also argued that the penalty of death was disproportionate to the crime committed.  The Florida Supreme Court did not find errors that warranted reversing the sentence and affirmed the sentence of Death on 08/19/99.  Rehearing was denied on 10/25/99.  A mandate was issued on 11/24/99.

On 01/24/00, Robinson filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court.  The petition was denied on 04/03/00.

On 02/28/01, Robinson filed a 3.850 Motion in the circuit court.  The circuit court denied the motion on 05/15/03.

Robinson filed a 3.850 Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 07/11/03.  In his appeal, Robinson argued that the trial court erred in denying an evidentiary hearing on numerous claims of ineffective counsel, that the trial court violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, and that lethal injection is unconstitutional.  Robinson also raised issues regarding public records, his innocence and that he is insane and therefore cannot be executed.  The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Robinson’s Motion on 07/07/05.

Robinson filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Florida Supreme Court on 05/03/04.  In his petition, Robinson argued that error occurred in the Florida Supreme Court remanding him for a new penalty phase before the trial judge without a penalty phase jury present, that appellate counsel was ineffective for not raising this issue in his Direct Appeal and that his death sentence is unconstitutional under Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002).  The Court found Robinson’s first claim to be without merit and procedurally barred since it had been raised previously in the 3.850 proceedings.  The Court also ruled that counsel cannot be deemed ineffective for failing to raise a meritless issue and Robinson had lawfully waived the right to a penalty phase jury which overrides his third claim.  The Florida Supreme Court denied the petition on 07/07/05.

On 12/06/05, Robinson filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the United States District Court, Middle District.  The petition is currently pending.


Michael L. Robinson



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