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Jack Rilea SLINEY





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: June 18, 1992
Date of birth: December 23, 1972
Victim profile: George Blumberg (pawnshop owner)
Method of murder: Hitting with a hammer
Location: Charlotte County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on February 14, 1994

Supreme Court of Florida


opinion 83302

opinion SC05-13


DC#  905288
DOB:  12/23/72

Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Charlotte County, Case #92-451-CF
Sentencing Judge:  The Honorable Donald E. Pellecchia
Attorney, Trial: Kevin C. Shirley, Esquire
Attorney, Trial: Mark A. Cooper – Assistant Public Defender (03/03/94)
Attorney, Direct Appeal:  Robert F. Moeller – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Thomas Ostrander & Sara Dyehouse – Registry

Date of Offense:  06/18/92

Date of Sentence:  02/14/94

Circumstances of Offense:

Jack R. Sliney was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of a pawnshop owner, George Blumberg.

On 06/18/92, Marilyn Blumberg discovered her husband, George Blumberg, dead behind the counter of the pawnshop that they owned and ran together.  He had received blunt head trauma, possibly from being hit with a camera, had been stabbed three times in the neck with a pair of scissors, and had been hit several times in the head with a hammer. 

The one relevant fingerprint found by police belonged to Keith Witteman, who Sliney implicated in his testimony.

Witness, Kenneth Dobbins, testified that he saw two young men enter the store and speak with Blumberg about a piece of jewelry.  Composite sketches were drawn from Dobbins’ description. 

An officer showed the sketch to his stepdaughter’s boyfriend, Thomas Capeles, because he was in the same age group as the suspects and might know them.  Capeles did not recognize either individual.  Capeles, however, later contacted the officer because Jack Sliney, manager of Club Manta Ray, offered to sell him a gun, and Sliney looked similar to one of the men in the composite sketches.

Capeles agreed to assist in the investigation, and a controlled gun buy was arranged.  The serial number of the gun that was bought from Sliney matched the gun registry from the Blumberg’s pawnshop.  Another controlled gun buy was arranged, and these guns also matched the pawnshop registry.  Sliney was arrested shortly after the second gun sale.

Sliney confessed to the murder of Blumberg in both a taped oral statement and in a written statement.  Sliney told officers that he and Witteman went into the store and argued with Blumberg over the price of a necklace.  He reported that Witteman told him to hit Blumberg and then said that he would have to kill Blumberg because the victim could identity them. 

Sliney admitted to hitting Blumberg in the head with a camera, stabbing him with scissors, and finally hitting him with a hammer.  During the trial, Sliney testified that Witteman killed Blumberg, which contradicted his original statement to the police.

Additional Information:

Co-defendant Status:

Keith Witteman was convicted and sentenced to Life for First-Degree Murder during the Commission of a Felony.  He also was sentenced to ten years for Robbery with a Deadly Weapon.

Trial Summary:

07/03/92          Sliney was indicted on the following counts:

Count I:           First-Degree Premeditated Murder

Count II:          First-Degree Felony Murder

Count III:         Robbery with a Deadly Weapon

10/01/93          Sliney was found guilty on all counts charged in the indictment.

11/04/93          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 7 to 5 majority, voted for the death penalty.

02/14/94          Sliney was sentenced as follows:

Count I:            First-Degree Premeditated Murder – Death

Count II:           First-Degree Felony Murder – Nolle Prossed

Count III:          Robbery with a Deadly Weapon – Life, less 607 days for time served

Case Information:

Jack R. Sliney filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 03/08/94.  He raised several issues on Direct Appeal.  Sliney contended that his confession was forced and should not have been admitted.  Another issue was that the tape from the gun sale between Capeles and Sliney and the tape of Marilyn Blumberg’s 911 call should not have been allowed. 

Sliney also argued that the trial court erred in not allowing inmates to testify that they heard Witteman, the codefendant, confess, not allowing adequate preparation time, and finding aggravating factors.  Another issue argued was that the penalty of death was disproportionate to the crime committed. 

The Florida Supreme Court did not find errors that warranted reversing the conviction or sentence and affirmed the conviction and sentence on 07/17/97.  Rehearing was denied on 09/18/97.  A mandate was issued on 10/20/97. 

Sliney filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on 12/17/97.  The United States Supreme Court denied the petition on 02/23/98. 

On 02/19/99, Sliney filed a 3.850 Motion in the Charlotte County Circuit Court.  Amended motions were filed on 03/31/99 and 04/12/99.  A consolidated motion was filed on 06/19/01.  Evidentiary hearings were held on 04/29/02 and 05/09/03.  Amended motions were filed on 10/10/03 and 11/17/03.  The motion was denied on 12/14/04.

On 01/03/05, Sliney filed a 3.850 appeal with the Florida Supreme Court.  The appeal is currently pending. 

Sliney filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Florida Supreme Court on 08/19/05.  The petition is currently pending.



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