Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange
County, Case #CR78-1840
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable
Alice Blackwell White
Resentencing Judge: The
Honorable Margaret T. Waller
Attorneys, Trial: Steven H.
Malone - Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Resentencing: Chandler
R. Muller - Private
Attorneys, Direct Appeal: Craig
S. Barnard & Richard B. Greene - Assistant Public
Attorneys, Direct Appeal
(Resentencing): Chandler R. Muller - Private
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:
Chandler R. Muller - Private
Attorney, Collateral Appeals
(Resentencing): Peter Cannon & Daphney Gaylord- CCRC-M
Date of Offense: 06/06/78
Date of Sentence: 12/20/78
Date of Resentencing: 04/20/00
Circumstances of Offense:
William Melvin White was
convicted of murdering Gracie Mae Crawford on 06/06/78.
White was a member of a
motorcycle gang in Kentucky called the Outlaws. He was visiting the
Orlando chapter of the Outlaws the night of the murder. On the night of
06/06/78, the motorcycle gang went out to a nightclub in Orlando to have
a few drinks.
While at the nightclub, the group met the victim, Gracie
Mae Crawford. After spending a few hours drinking at the nightclub, the
Outlaws and Crawford went back to their clubhouse.
Shortly after returning to the
clubhouse, White and his girlfriend went to the bedroom they were
staying in while Crawford remained with the gang and continued to
drink. White and his girlfriend remained in the bedroom until another
gang member, Richard DiMarino, knocked on the door and told White that
Crawford liked African Americans and they needed to “teach her a
Upon hearing this, White left the bedroom and went into the
kitchen where he, DiMarino, and a third gang member, Guy Ennis Smith,
preceded to beat Crawford. After the three men had finished beating
her, White and DiMarino took her from the kitchen and put her in the
front seat of White’s girlfriend’s car.
They drove the car to a
secluded area at the end of a deserted road where they pulled Crawford
from the car and then passed her over a barbed wire fence and laid her
on the ground. White then sat on top of Crawford and fatally stabbed
her in the chest 14 times and then cut her throat. White then gave the
knife to DiMarino who cut her throat again.
DiMarino and White left the
crime scene and attempted to return home, but the two men ran out of gas
and pulled into the Seaworld parking lot. Two security guards on duty
(who later identified the two men to authorities) gave the men some gas
for their car. White and DiMarino then returned to the crime scene and
picked up Crawford’s body and disposed of it in a different location.
Richard DiMarino, the codefendant in this case, received a lesser charge
and sentence in return for his testimony against White. He was found
guilty of third-degree murder and was sentenced to fifteen years in
Defendant was indicted on the following charges:
Count I: First-Degree
Jury returned a guilty verdict.
11/30/78 Jury recommended the Death Penalty by a 12-0 majority.
The defendant was sentenced as followed:
Count I: First-Degree
Murder - Death
The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the 3.850 Motion but remanded the case for a new
penalty phase hearing Resentencing:
Jury recommended the Death Penalty by a 10-2 majority.
04/20/00 The defendant was resentenced to death.
01/08/79, William White filed his Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme
Court. He claimed there was prosecutorial misconduct with regard to
comments made by the prosecutor. He also contended that the trial court
erred in the jury selection process. The Florida Supreme Court found no
merit in any of the claims and affirmed White’s conviction and sentence
10/04/83, White filed a 3.850 Motion in the Circuit Court. This Motion
was denied on 04/18/96.
09/24/87, the defendant filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in
the Florida Supreme Court. The Petition was denied on 01/28/88.
Following the denial of his Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on
06/13/88, William White filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari in the
United States Supreme Court, which was denied on 10/03/88.
On 08/08/96, White
filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court. White
contended in the appeal that he received ineffective counsel. He also
claimed that details about a deal made with DiMarino were not disclosed
by the State. The Court found no merit to these two claims. In his
final claim White contended that there was a violation of Hitchcock.
The Court found that the trial court improperly barred mitigating
circumstances that should have been considered. On 03/11/99, the
Florida Supreme Court remanded the case to the trial court with
instructions to conduct another sentencing proceeding.
White was resentenced on
04/20/00. He filed his Direct Appeal on 05/26/00. In his appeal, White
claimed that the trial court erred in not allowing facts of a previous
crime he had committed but allowed the criminal history of DiMarino.
The Court found no abuse of the trial court’s discretion. White also
contended that the trial court erred in finding the hindering the
enforcement of laws aggravator. The Court found that there was
substantial evidence in support of the aggravating circumstance. White
also argued that the trial court erred by not finding that he acted
under extreme duress during the murder as an aggravating circumstance.
Again, the Court found substantial evidence in support of the trial
court’s ruling. In White’s final claim he argued that his death
sentence was not proportionate in regard to DiMarino’s sentence. The
Court found that White was the more culpable defendant and found that
his sentence was proportionate. The Court affirmed White’s conviction
and sentence on 04/04/02. His Rehearing was denied on 05/16/03.
White filed a Petition for a
Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on 10/11/02. This
petition was subsequently denied on 12/16/02.
White filed a 3.850 Motion in
the State Circuit Court on 12/16/03, which was denied on 08/05/05.
On 09/06/05, White filed a 3.850
Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court. The appeal is currently pending.