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Robert Jeffrey TREASE





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: August 17, 1985
Date of birth: January 21, 1953
Victim profile: Paul Edeson
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Sarasota County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on January 22, 1997

Supreme Court of Florida


opinion SC89961


DC #124346
DOB: 01/21/53

Twelfth Judicial Circuit, Sarasota County Case #95-2207/ 96-1900
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Robert Bennett
Trial Attorney: Fred Mercurio Ė Special Appointed Public Defender.
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Andrea Norgard Ė Assistant Public Defender.
Attorneys, Collateral Appeals: Thomas Dunn & Mark Olive Ė Pro Bono

Date of Offense:  08/17/85

Date of Sentence:  01/22/97

Circumstances of Offense: 

The defendant, Robert Trease, and his accomplice Hope Siegel conspired to rob the victim Paul Edeson. The robbery resulted in Trease killing the victim with a knife.

Trease and Siegel planned for her to arrange a date with the victim so that she could learn where the victim kept a hidden safe. They planned to return later to recover any money the victim may have had.

Siegel arrived at the victimís home and after spending time with the victim, determined that he did not have a safe. She left the victimís residence and met with Trease, to inform him that the victim did not own a safe.

Trease followed Ms. Siegal back to the victimís house where he surprised and attacked the victim in an effort to obtain the safeís location. The victim continued to insist that he did not have a safe in his house.

Trease told Siegel to get a gun, which he put to the victimís head as he continued the questioning. The victim remained uncooperative so Trease fired a non-lethal bullet into his head and then asked Siegel to retrieve a knife.

He then cut the victimís throat resulting in his death. Subsequent to his arrest, Trease denied any knowledge or involvement in the crime. Siegel, however, gave a detailed statement implicating them both.

Codefendant Status:

Hope Siegel was sentenced on 12-30-96 for Second Degree Murder and received a sentence of 20 years prison. She was also sentenced on 02-19-97 to one year prison for Burglary of a Dwelling. (Both charges resulted from the same incident)


Trial Summary:

08/24/95          Warrant for arrest issued.

09/28/95          Indicted by the Grand Jury, Case # 95-2207.

Count I: Murder in the First Degree. 

10/13/95          Special Pubic Defender appointed, plea of not guilty entered.

02/14/96          Information filed for case # 96-1900, *

Count I:  Burglary of a Dwelling with Assault While Armed.

Count II: Robbery with a Firearm.

12/11/96          The jury found the defendant guilty of all counts as charged both in the indictment and the information.

12/19/96          Upon advisory sentencing the trial jury, by a 11 to 1 majority, voted for the death penalty.

01/22/97          The defendant sentenced as follows; Case # 95-2207

Count I: Murder in the first Degree- Death Case # 96-1900Count I: Burglary of a Dwelling w/ an Assault While Armed- Life

Count II: Robbery with a Firearm- Life

*Note, the charges in case # 96-1900 are related to the same incident.


Case Information:

Trease filed his Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on 02/28/97. Treaseís initial appeal contained a number of claims including: the trial court abused its discretion by failing to appoint co-counsel to assist in the penalty phase and in denying his request for new counsel, the court erred in granting the Stateís pre-trial motion, thereby preventing the defense from cross-examining Siegel regarding her drug addiction, the court gave little weight to non-statutory mitigating factors, the court erred in finding that Trease killed the victim in order to avoid a lawful arrest and the  penalty of death was disproportionate.

The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions and the sentence of death on 08/17/00. 

CCRC filed a notice of appearance in January of 2001. On 03/19/01, Trease filed a motion to dismiss counsel. On 05/23/01, a 3.850 motion was filed on Treaseís behalf. A competency hearing was held on 05/24/01.

On 05/31/01, the trial court entered an order: determining the defendant competent to proceed, denying the 3.850 motion, granting the defendantís motion to dismiss counsel.  On 09/27/02, the 3.850 motion was reinstated.  On 03/27/06, the motion was amended.

On 11/19/01, Governor Jeb Bush signed a death warrant. The execution was scheduled for 02/07/02, however, Governor Bush granted a Stay of Execution on 02/06/02.




Robert Jeffrey Trease



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