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.
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.
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.
01/29/81 The defendant
was indicted on the following:
Count I: First-Degree
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
First-Degree Murder - Death
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
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.
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.
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.
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.