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Labrant D. DENNIS

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Revenge
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: April 13, 1996
Date of birth: October 21, 1977
Victims profile: Marlin Barnes and Timwanika Lumpkins (his ex-girlfriend)
Method of murder: Multiple blows from a shotgun
Location: Dade County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on February 26, 1999
 
 
 
 
 

Supreme Court of Florida

 

opinion SC95211

 
 
 
 
 
 

DC#  124607
DOB:  10/21/7

Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Dade County Case # 96-13558
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Manuel Crespo
Attorney, Trial: Ronald Guralnick – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Louis Campbell & Christina Spaulding – Asst. Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Suzanne Keffer – CCRC-S

Date of Offense: 04/13/96

Date of Sentence: 02/26/99

Circumstances of Offense:

On the morning of 04/13/96, Earl Little arrived at his University of Miami on-campus apartment to pick up his keys to his black Ford Explorer that he had loaned to his roommate, Marlin Barnes. 

Little found that his vehicle had a puncture mark in the right rear tire, causing the vehicle to tilt toward the right side. 

Little opened his apartment door to find Barnes slumped against the front door, badly beaten and barely conscious.  Little called the police, who entered the apartment and found the body of Timwanika Lumpkins, who had severe trauma to the back of the head, but was still alive. 

Barnes died at the scene, while Lumpkins, after being airlifted to the hospital, later died.  Both suffered trauma wounds and lacerations that were later determined to be the result of multiple blows from a shotgun.

Barnes and Little both played football for the University of Miami, and during a meeting of the football team after the murders, some of the football players indicated that Lumpkins had an ex-boyfriend named Labrant Dennis. 

In an interview with police, Dennis admitted to being romantically involved with Lumpkins and fathering a child with her.  Dennis told police that he and Lumpkins had had an argument the week prior to the murders when she came home late after an evening out with Barnes.  At the time of the argument, Dennis and Lumpkins were living together with Dennis’ cousin and her boyfriend.  After the argument, Lumpkins moved out.

In the early morning hours on the day of the murders, Dennis was seen at Club Salvation, which was the same club that Lumpkins, Barnes and a mutual friend had also visited that morning.  Dennis, however, denied seeing Lumpkins and Barnes that morning.

While canvassing the area for information about the murders, police approached a gas station attendant, who worked at a gas station that was located a few blocks from Club Salvation. 

The attendant told police that a man matching Dennis’ description and wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt that covered his face was parked in a car at the gas station.  The attendant also told police that the vehicle was in a position to allow the observation of a black Ford Explorer, with a flat tire, being loaded onto a flatbed tow truck across the street.

Police learned that an acquaintance of Dennis, Joseph Stewart, might have information about the case, so he was questioned.  Stewart told police that Dennis borrowed a shotgun and duffel bag from him. 

On the morning of April 13th, Dennis hid the duffel bag, which contained a black, hooded sweatshirt, black boots, the significantly damaged shotgun, and a knife, in some bushes at Stewart’s mother’s house.  Upon finding the items, Stewart became nervous and threw the clothes in a grocery store dumpster and discarded the shotgun and knife into a sewer drain.

Police later recovered the shotgun and knife, as well as the duffel bag, but were unable to recover the discarded clothing.  Additional forensic investigation determined that fragments of the shotgun found in the apartment matched Stewart’s damaged shotgun. The State further linked Dennis to the murders and established Dennis’ motive by introducing evidence that Dennis had stalked Lumpkins on several occasions and had once threatened to kill her with a gun.

Trial Summary:

05/08/96          Indicted as follows:

Count I            First-Degree Murder

Count II           First-Degree Murder

Count III          Armed Burglary With Assault or Battery

Count IV           Criminal Mischief

10/28/98          Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment

12/02/98          Jury recommended death sentences by two votes of 11-1

02/26/99          Sentenced as follows:  

Count I            First-Degree Murder – Death

Count II           First-Degree Murder – Death

Count III          Armed Burglary With Assault or Battery – Life Imprisonment

Count IV           Criminal Mischief – 1 year

Case Information:

Dennis filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 03/29/99, citing thirteen trial court errors: failure to adequately instruct the jury about accomplices; improper bolstering of witness testimony by the State; erroneous admission of evidence; denying a motion to suppress evidence; allowing the State to impeach its own witness; admission of collateral evidence; admission of autopsy photos; inadequate sentencing order; failure to prove aggravating circumstances (cold, calculated, premeditated murder and heinous, atrocious, or cruel murder); failure to consider mitigating circumstances (extreme mental or emotional disturbance); and disproportionate sentence due to the murder being a crime of passion.  On 01/31/02, the FSC affirmed the convictions and sentences.

Dennis filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on 09/25/02 that was denied on 12/02/02.

Dennis filed a 3.850 Motion with the Circuit Court on 11/25/03 that was denied on 10/05/04.

Dennis filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 11/09/04 that is pending.

Floridacapitalcases.state.fl.us

 

 

 
 
 
 
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