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Freddie Lee WILLIAMS





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Jealousy
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: November 7, 1980
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: December 24, 1945
Victim profile: His long-time girlfriend, Mary Robinson
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Orange County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on December 18, 1981

Florida Supreme Court


opinion 69085

opinion 90143


opinion SC94989


DC# 033405
DOB: 12/24/45  

Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange County, Case #80-5117
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Thomas E. Kirkland
Attorney, Trial: Gerald Jones - Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Charles A. Tabscott, Esq.
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Chandler R. Muller, Esq. - Private 

Date of Offense: 11/07/80

Date of Sentence: 12/18/81

Circumstances of Offense:

Freddie Lee Williams was convicted and sentenced to death for the 11/07/81 murder of his long-time girlfriend, Mary Robinson. 

Williams and Robinson had been experiencing relationship problems long before Robinsonís murder on the night of 11/07/81.  That night, while visiting with her sister, Robinson began receiving upsetting phone calls from Williams. Following the upsetting conversations, Robinson and her sister went to a jai alai game. 

Later that night, Robinsonís sister dropped her off at the home she shared with Williams.  Shortly after she had dropped Mary off, Robinsonís sister received a phone call from Williams telling her that her sister had been hurt.  Robinsonís sister returned to the Williams-Robinson residence to find that the police and EMS personnel had already arrived.

As noted during trial, Williams had borrowed a friendís handgun the night of the murder under the pretense of going out gambling.  Williams alleged he left the gun on a dresser in the apartment and, when he returned home, the victim had already been shot and that she was ďstaggering towards himĒ when he entered their apartment. 

Williams did not want the police to discover the gun in his residence since he was on parole, so he discarded it under a bush outside.  Investigation revealed that on the night of the murder, the defendant and the victim had gotten into a fight centering on Williamsí belief that Mary Robinson had been cheating on him.  Robinson had taken a shower when she got home that night, and Williams believed that to be an indication of cleaning up after being with another man.

Ballistics tests proved the gun used to shoot Mary Robinson was the same gun that Williams had borrowed from a neighbor.  The medical examinerís report stated that the cause of death was one bullet wound to the neck, which caused extreme and sudden blood loss.


Trial Summary:

01/29/81          The defendant was indicted on the following:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder

10/16/81          The jury found the defendant guilty as charged.

10/20/81          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by an 8 to 4 majority, voted for the death penalty.

12/18/81          The defendant was sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder - Death


Case Information:

On 01/05/82, Freddie Lee Williams filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court.  In that appeal, he argued that the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction for first-degree murder and that the element of premeditation was not satisfactorily established.  Williams also contended that the trial court erred in refusing to give his instruction on circumstantial evidence.  The Florida Supreme Court noted ď. . . the circumstantial evidence instruction is now unnecessary because the instructions on reasonable doubt and burden of proof are sufficient to properly instruct the jury and a separate instruction solely on circumstantial evidence would be duplicative.Ē  Williams also argued the proportionality of his death sentence. 

On 06/23/83, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the Williamsí conviction and sentence of death. 

On 02/01/84, Freddie Williams filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, which was denied on 03/26/84.

On 04/17/85, Williams sought permission to file a Petition for Writ of Error Coram Nobis in the Florida Supreme Court, which was denied on 09/09/85.  The Florida Supreme Court denied Williamsí Motion for Rehearing on 11/04/85.

On 07/25/86, Freddie Lee Williams filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Florida Supreme Court.  In that petition, Williams argued that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and attempted the relitigate the proportionality of his death sentence.  The petition was denied on 01/29/87, and the Florida Supreme Court denied the appellantís Motion for Rehearing on 04/03/87.  

Williams again filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court that was denied on 10/05/87.

On 12/29/86, Williams filed a 3.850 Motion in the State Circuit Court.  While this motion was pending, Governor Bob Martinez signed a death warrant on 05/01/89.  On 05/25/89, the State Circuit Court granted a stay of execution pending the resolution of Williamsí 3.850 Motion.  On 01/29/99, the State Circuit Court granted Williams a new penalty phase based on his claim of ineffective assistance during the penalty phase.  

The State initially filed an appeal of the State Circuit Courtís ruling that granted Williams a new penalty phase proceeding.  The State later voluntarily withdrew this appeal.  Williams, however, cross-appealed the denial of the remaining claims raised in his 3.850 Motion.  On 08/23/01, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the denial of the claims relating to ineffective assistance during the guilt phase of the trial.  

Williamsí case is currently pending resentencing.



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