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Anthony Floyd WAINWRIGHT





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Kidnapping - Rape
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: April 27, 1994
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: October 22, 1970
Victim profile: Carmen Gayheart
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Hamilton County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on June 12, 1995

Florida Supreme Court


opinion 86022

opinion SC02-1342


opinion SC07-2005


DC#  123847
DOB: 10/22/70

Third Judicial Circuit, Hamilton County, Case #94-150-CF2
(Venue changed to Fourth Judicial Circuit, Clay County)
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable E. Vernon Douglas
Attorneys, Trial: Clyde M. Taylor, Jr., Esq. & Sean Owens, Esq.
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Steven Seliger, Esq.
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Joseph Hobson – Registry

Date of Offense: 04/27/94

Date of Sentence (Counts II-IV): 06/01/95

Date of Sentence (Count I): 06/12/95

Circumstances of Offense:

Anthony Wainwright and Richard Hamilton escaped from a North Carolina prison, stole guns and a Cadillac then traveled to Florida.  On 04/27/94 the car overheated in Lake City.

At this point, they kidnapped Carmen Gayheart, a young mother of two, at gunpoint from a Winn-Dixie parking lot and stole her Ford Bronco.  The two men raped and strangled Gayheart and then shot her twice in the back of the head. 

On 04/28/94, Wainwright and Hamilton were arrested in Mississippi after a shootout with police.  Upon capture, Wainwright admitted to authorities that after kidnapping and robbing Gayheart, he raped her, despite that fact that he has AIDS.  Wainwright denied he was involved in the strangling and shooting of the victim.

Codefendant Information:

Richard Hamilton was convicted of First-Degree Murder, Armed Robbery, Armed Kidnapping, and Armed Sexual Battery.  He was sentenced to death for the murder of Carmen Gayheart and to life imprisonment on the other convictions.

Trial Summary:

07/15/94          Defendant indicted on the following charges:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder

Count II:          Armed Robbery

Count III:         Armed Kidnapping

Count IV:          Armed Sexual Assault

05/30/95          The jury found the defendant guilty on all counts.

06/01/95          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 12 to 0 majority, voted for the death penalty.

06/01/95          The defendant was sentenced as follows:

Count II:          Armed Robbery - Life

Count III:         Armed Kidnapping - Life

Count IV:          Armed Sexual Assault - Life

06/12/95          The defendant was sentenced as follows:

Count I:            First-Degree Murder - Death

Case Information:

On 07/10/95, Anthony Wainwright filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court.  In the appeal, he argued that the trial court erred in admitting his post-arrest statements to police.  The State agreed not to seek the death penalty if Wainwright could meet three criteria: (1) he did not contribute to Gayheart’s death, (2) he was truthful in his conversations with the police and, (3) he passed a polygraph test.  Per their agreement, Wainwright made a series of incriminating statements to police and ultimately admitted to sexually assaulting Gayheart.  After consulting his attorney, Wainwright refused to take the polygraph exam and after that, police had no further contact with him. 

The Florida Supreme Court determined that no error occurred when the trial court refused to suppress these statements because Wainwright did not adhere to or meet the three criteria of the deal proposed by the State and, therefore, no agreement had been finalized.  Wainwright also argued in his Direct Appeal that the trial court erred by admitting additional DNA evidence once the trial had begun and that the State did not establish corpus delecti for the sexual battery charge, thus making his confession inadmissible.  Finally, Wainwright asserted that the trial court erred in sentencing him on his three non-capital felony convictions. 

On the sentencing forms, the trial court checked the blanks requiring Wainwright to serve a 25-year mandatory minimum on each of the three counts and the blanks that allowed the trial court to retain jurisdiction.  The State agreed that this was error and, as such, the Florida Supreme Court ordered that the trial court’s sentencing order form be altered to reflect that no minimum-mandatory terms were imposed and that there was no retention of jurisdiction by the trial court.  The Florida Supreme Court affirmed Wainwright’s convictions and sentence of death on 11/13/97.

On 03/16/98, Wainwright filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, which was subsequently denied on 05/18/98.

On 05/14/99, Wainwright filed a 3.850 Motion in the State Circuit Court.  Wainwright argued several issues in his motion.  He contended that his trial counsel was ineffective regarding the admission of additional DNA evidence, regarding Wainwright’s statements and admissions; regarding evidence of Wainwright’s out of state crimes; regarding a microphone discovered in Wainwright’s cell.

The trial counsel was also argued to be ineffective for failing to object to the prosectur’s argument at the guilt and penality phases; for failing to maintain proper attorney-client relationship; failing to object to an error; failing to prepare for trial, introducing statements of the codefendent, committing an alleged discovery violation and counsel’s illness during trial also rendered him ineffective. Wainwright also contended that his initial counsel was ineffective in pretrial preparation.  The Motion was denied on 04/19/02.  Wainwright then filed an appeal of that decision in the Florida Supreme Court on 06/14/02. On 11/24/04, the Court affirmed the denial of the Motion.

On 09/11/02, Wainwright filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Florida Supreme Court.  Wainwright contended that Florida’s capital sentencing scheme is unconstitutional and that error occurred in his counsel’s failure to raise an issue involving the felony murder jury instruction.  All of Wainwright’s claims were procedurally barred or lacked merit.  On 11/24/04 the petition was denied. 

Wainwright filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the United States District Court, Middle District on 03/29/05.  The petition was dismissed with prejudice on 03/13/06. 

On 05/31/05, Wainwright filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court.  The petition was denied on 10/03/05.



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