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Steven Edward STEIN





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: January 20, 1991
Date of arrest: 3 days after
Date of birth: March 6, 1968
Victims profile: Dennis Saunders and Bobby Hood (shift supervisors at Pizza Hut)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Duval County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on July 23, 1991

Supreme Court of Florida


opinion 78460

opinion SC06-1505


DC#  122551
DOB:  03/06/68

Fourth Judicial Circuit, Duval County, Case #91-1505CF
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable David C. Wiggins
Attorney, Trial: Jefferson W. Morrow, Esquire
Attorney, Direct Appeal: W.C. McLain – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Dale Westling – Registry

Date of Offense:  01/20/91

Date of Sentence:  07/23/91

Circumstances of Offense:

Steven Stein was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of Dennis Saunders and Bobby Hood. 

On 01/20/91, Dennis Saunders and Bobby Hood, shift supervisors at the Edgewood Avenue Pizza Hut, were shot to death in the store.  Saunders was shot four times and Hood was shot five times.  A sum of $980 also was taken from the restaurant.  The bodies of Saunders and Hood were found the next day in the men’s bathroom of the Pizza Hut. 

Ronald Burroughs, an employee, had left the restaurant shortly after 11 p.m.  He testified that two customers were still inside when he left.  Burroughs identified the customers as Steven Stein and Marc Christmas, the co-defendant.  Stein was a Pizza Hut employee and Christmas was a former employee of Pizza Hut.  The police also found Christmas’s fingerprint on the unpaid guest check.

Kyle White, the roommate of Stein and Christmas, testified that Stein and Christmas had discussed how to rob a Pizza Hut restaurant. 

On 01/20/91, Stein and Christmas left the apartment about 9:30 p.m. with a rifle and claimed they were going to see Christmas’s father about selling it.  Christmas’ father, however, testified that Stein nor Christmas came to see him that night.  Stein and Christmas were back home by 11:45 p.m.

After being arrested, Stein gave a statement to the police.  Stein waived his rights and said that he wanted to talk about the crime.  Stein admitted to being part of the robbery and said that it had “gone bad.”  He never admitted to shooting either Saunders or Hood.

Additional Information:

Codefendant Status: Marc Christmas (Duval County Circuit Court # 91-1504) 

Marc Christmas was convicted of three counts for his involvement in the crimes that occurred on 01/20/91.  Christmas was sentenced on 11/12/91.  He received three life sentences for the two counts of First-Degree Murder during the Commission of a Felony and for one count of Robbery with a Deadly Weapon.

Trial Summary:

01/23/91          Stein was arrested.

02/07/91          Stein was indicted on the following:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder during the Commission of a Felony

Count II:          First-Degree Murder during the Commission of a Felony

Count III:         Robbery with a Deadly Weapon

06/20/91          Stein was found guilty on all counts charged in the indictment.

06/20/91          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 10 to 2 majority, voted for the death penalty.

07/23/91          Stein was sentenced as follows:

Count I:            First-Degree Murder during the Commission of a Felony – Death

Count II:           First-Degree Murder during the Commission of a Felony – Death

Count III:          Robbery with a Deadly Weapon – Life, less 182 days for time served

Case Information:

Steven Stein filed his Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 08/19/91.  He raised several issues on Direct Appeal.  Stein claimed that the trial judge erred in not suppressing statements he made, allowing a suppression hearing to continue after Stein’s counsel had left, and not declaring a mistrial after prejudicial remarks were made in front of the jury.  He also argued that the mitigating and aggravating circumstances were mishandled. 

The Florida Supreme Court did not find errors that warranted reversing the conviction or sentence.  The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence on 01/13/94.  Rehearing was denied on 03/15/94.  A mandate was issued on 04/14/94.

Stein filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on 05/16/94.  The United States Supreme Court denied the petition on 10/03/94.

Stein filed a 3.850 Motion in the Duval County Circuit Court on 11/15/95.  Amended motions were filed on 06/21/96 and 05/03/02.  An evidentiary hearing was held on 10/18/02.  The motion was denied in part on 11/04/02.  On 05/02/06, the motion was denied entirely. 

On 06/14/04, Stein filed a 3.851 Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court.  The appeal was denied on 01/28/05.

Stein filed a 3.851 Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 06/30/06.  The appeal is currently pending.



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