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Lamar Z. BROOKS

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Murder for hire
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: April 24, 1996
Date of birth: October 26, 1972
Victims profile: Rachel Carlson and her three-month-old daughter, Alexis Stuart
Method of murder: Strangulation - Stabbing with knife
LocationOkaloosa County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on September 29, 1998. Resentenced to death on February 25, 2002
 
 

 

Supreme Court of Florida

 
opinion SC94308 opinion SC02-538
 
 

 
 

DC# 124538
DOB: 10/26/72

First Judicial Circuit, Okaloosa County Case # 96-735
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Jere Tolton
Attorney, Trial: Berry Beroset – Private
Attorney, Retrial: Kepler Funk & Keith Szachacz – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Kepler Funk & Keith Szachacz – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal (after retrial): David Davis – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  D. Todd Doss – Registry

Date of Offense: 04/24/96

Date of Sentence: 09/29/98

Date of Resentence: 02/25/02

Circumstances of Offense:

In the late night hours of 04/24/96, Rachel Carlson and her three-month-old daughter, Alexis Stuart were found stabbed to death in Carlson’s running vehicle in Crestview, Florida.  Carlson was strangled and stabbed sixty-six times, while Stuart was stabbed four times. 

Carlson believed Walker Davis, Jr. was the father of her child, and she called the Florida Department of Revenue and requested that a case be opened against Davis for child support.  A DNA test conducted subsequent to the murder revealed that Davis was not the father. Carlson demanded monetary child support from Davis, who already was married and had two children at the time of the Carlson murder. 

In the week prior to the murder, Lamar Brooks, Davis’ cousin, traveled to Florida and stayed with Davis during his visit.  Mark Gilliam, a friend of Brooks’, later testified to a conversation between Davis, Brooks, and himself, wherein all three discussed various ways they would kill Carlson because of pressure she exerted on Davis for child support. 

A plan developed whereby Davis would pay Brooks $10,000 to kill Carlson, and Gilliam would be paid $500 to drive them to Crestview to commit the murder.  On two occasions, the plan was attempted, yet failed due to various unforeseen circumstances.  Gilliam did not participate in the murder plans after the second failed attempt. 

A bloodstain pattern expert testified at trial that a back-seat passenger stabbed Carlson and no one was in the passenger seat during the murder.  Forensic evidence showed that a footprint was found on Carlson’s shoulder, which would be consistent with someone climbing over the body to exit the vehicle.  Additional forensic evidence demonstrated that Davis, whose leg was in a cast at the time of the murder, would have been physically unable to climb over the front seat to exit the vehicle. 

At trial, Terrance Goodman, who was a cellmate of Brooks after his arrest, testified that Brooks told him that he “offed this broad” and “while anybody could pull a trigger, it takes more heart to stab someone because you can feel the hitting of the bone and the tearing of the tissue.”  Brooks also told Goodman that he was in the back seat of the car during the murder. 

According to testimony, Davis bought a $100,000 life insurance policy on Stuart in February 1996, naming himself as sole beneficiary.  The State argued that Davis planned to pay Brooks and Gilliam with the proceeds from the insurance policy.

Codefendant Information:

Walker Davis, Jr. was indicted for the same crimes as Brooks, yet was tried separately.  He was also convicted, and on 06/30/97, he was sentenced to two terms of Life Imprisonment. 

Trial Summary:

First Trial:

05/23/96          Indicted as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder (Rachel Carlson)
Count II:          First-Degree Murder (Alexis Stuart)

04/10/98          Jury returned guilty verdicts on both counts of the indictment

04/19/98          Jury recommended death by votes of 10-2

09/29/98          Sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder (Rachel Carlson) – Death
Count II:          First-Degree Murder (Alexis Stuart) – Death

Second Trial:

01/23/02          Jury returned guilty verdicts on both counts of the indictment

01/30/02          Jury recommended death by votes of 9-3 (Count I) and 11-1 (Count II)

02/25/02          Sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder (Rachel Carlson) – Death
Count II:          First-Degree Murder (Alexis Stuart) – Death

Case Information:

Brooks filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 11/13/98, citing the following errors: permitting improper hearsay evidence; violating rights to confront witnesses and due process by permitting non-testifying codefendants statements; denying motions for new trial; permitting the testimony of certain witnesses; denying a motion for mistrial after impermissible comments on a right to remain silent; determining juror qualifications; permitting the admission of photographs taken during a second autopsy; denying a motion to strike venire/change venue; permitting the admission of statements to law enforcement by codefendant under the hearsay rule; denying a motion for judgment of acquittal; and erroneously instructing, finding and doubling aggravating factors.  On 04/05/01, the Florida Supreme Court reversed the convictions and vacated the death sentences. 

Brooks filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 03/06/02, citing the following errors:  admitting the testimony of a life insurance salesman; allowing irrelevant testimony; admitting notes the police seized from the codefendant; allowing the state to impeach the testimony of a witness; allowing testimony from a witness; denying several defense objections to the closing argument of the state; refusing to give a conspiracy instruction; denying motions for mistrial; denying a motion to change the venue of the trial; finding that a death sentence is warranted in the case; finding that the murder occurred during the course of an aggravated child abuse and then using that fact to justify imposing a death sentence; refusing to require the jury to indicate if they found a verdict of guilty for felony murder, which aggravating factors they found and by what vote; finding the pecuniary gain and cold, calculated and premeditated aggravating factors; and giving the jury’s death recommendation great weight because of extensive mitigation. 

On 06/23/05, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the convictions and sentences. 

Brooks filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on 03/10/06 that was denied on 05/22/06.

Floridacapitalcases.state.fl.us



Lamar Brooks

 

 

 
 
 
 
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