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William Earl SWEET





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - Retaliation
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: 1990
Date of arrest: June 28, 1990
Date of birth: October 3, 1967
Victims profile: ??? / Felicia Bryant, 13
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Duval County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on August 30, 1991

Supreme Court of Florida


opinion 78629

opinion SC00-1509


opinion SC01-2867


DC# 100063
DOB: 10/03/67     

Fourth Judicial Circuit, Duval County, Case #91-2899
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Frederick B. Tygart 
Attorney, Criminal Trial: Charles Adams, Esq. & Lindsey Moore, Esq.
Attorney, Direct Appeal: David A. Davis - Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Frank Tassone, Jr. - Registry 

Date of Offense: 06/27/90

Date of Sentence: 08/30/91

Circumstances of Offense:

William Sweet was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of 13-year-old Felicia Bryant.

In June 1990, Marcine Cofer was robbed and physically accosted in her apartment by three men.  Cofer was able to identify two of her attackers by name and on 06/26/90, she was taken to the police station to try to identify the third assailant through photographs.  That evening Detective Robinson dropped Cofer off back at her apartment.  William Sweet was watching from afar as Cofer left the detective. 

Sweet had previously implicated himself to a friend as the third perpetrator in the attack and robbery of Cofer.

That same evening, Cofer asked her neighbor, Mattie Bryant, if Bryant’s two daughters, Felicia and Sharon Bryant, could stay with her in her apartment.  Mattie agreed and the girls went over to Cofer’s place around 8:00 p.m.

At 1:00 a.m., Sharon reported hearing a loud kick on the apartment door.  She woke Cofer and informed her of the noise.  After checking the premises, Cofer told Sharon not to worry as it appeared that whoever had been there had left.  Cofer then went back to bed.  Sharon then saw someone pulling on the screen in the living room and again alerted Cofer.  Cofer then looked out the peephole of her front door and noticed Sweet standing outside the apartment.

Cofer told Felicia to bang on the wall of the bathroom, alerting her mother, Mattie Bryant, who was next door.  Mattie rushed over a few minutes later.  The four women lined up behind the door, with Cofer in the back of the line. 

As they attempted to leave, William Sweet forced his way inside the apartment, trying to cover his face with a pair of pants.  Sweet opened fire on Cofer, and then proceeded to shoot the other three women.  Six shots were fired.  Cofer was shot twice, as was Felicia.  Felicia died as a result of the gunshot wounds to her abdomen and hand. 

William Sweet was arrested on 06/28/90.

Prior Incarceration History in the State of Florida: 

NOTE: William Sweet was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment for Second-Degree Murder (CC # 94-4813) after he was sentenced to death for the current offense (CC # 91-2899).

Trial Summary:

06/28/90           Defendant arrested.

08/02/90           Defendant indicted on the following:

Count I: First-Degree Murder
Count II: Attempted First-Degree Murder
Count III: Attempted First-Degree Murder
Count IV: Attempted First-Degree Murder
Count V: Armed Burglary

05/24/91          The jury found the defendant guilty of all counts charged in the indictment.

06/03/91           Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 10 to 2 majority, voted for the death penalty.

08/30/91            The defendant was sentenced as followed:

Count I: First-Degree Murder - Death
Count II: Attempted First-Degree Murder – Life
Count III: Attempted First-Degree Murder – Life
Count IV: Attempted First-Degree Murder – Life
Count V: Armed Burglary – Life

Case Information:

On 09/19/91, Sweet filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court.  In that appeal, he argued that the trial court erred in failing to adequately inquire into his desire to represent himself.  Sweet also contended that the court erred in admitting evidence that Cofer had previously been robbed and that Sweet was involved.  Sweet also argued the consideration and application of aggravating factors. 

The Florida Supreme Court affirmed Sweet’s convictions and sentence of death on 08/05/93.

Sweet then filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, which was denied on 02/28/94.

Next, Sweet filed a Motion to Vacate Judgment and Sentence (3.850) in the State Circuit Court.  That motion was subsequently denied, after which Sweet filed an appeal in the Florida Supreme Court.  The court affirmed the denial of Sweet’s 3.850 Motion on 01/31/02.

On 12/31/01, Sweet filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Florida Supreme Court, which was denied on 06/13/02.

On 05/12/03, Sweet filed a 3.850 Motion in the State Circuit Court.  An amended motion was filed on 11/18/03.  The motion was denied on 02/11/04.

Sweet filed a 3.850 Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 03/10/04.  On 12/20/04, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Sweet’s 3.850 Motion. 

Next, Sweet filed a 3.850 Motion in the Circuit Court on 03/08/05.  The motion was denied on 07/14/05.

On 07/27/05, Sweet filed a 3.851 Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court.  The appeal was denied on 06/16/06.



MO: Home-invader; killed holdup victims

DISPOSITION: Condemned on one count, 1991; 35 years on second count, 1994.


William Earl Sweet



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