Date of Sentence: 12/16/92
Date of Resentence: 05/07/98
Circumstances of Offense:
On 05/09/92, as they were
emptying trash from the Taco Bell restaurant where they worked, Michelle
Van Ness and Derek Mason were approached by Anthony Farina, 18, a former
employee at that Taco Bell restaurant, and his brother, Jeffrey Farina,
Both of the brothers wore gloves, and Jeffrey Farina carried a
.32-caliber pistol, while Anthony Farina carried a knife and rope. The
Farinas forced Van Ness and Mason back into the restaurant, where the
brothers rounded up two other employees.
Jeffrey held three employees
at gunpoint while Anthony ordered Kimberly Gordon to open the safe and
hand over the day’s receipts. Then, the Farinas tied the employees’
hands behind their backs and forced them into the walk-in freezer.
Shortly thereafter, Jeffrey shot Mason in the mouth, Gary Robinson in
the chest, and Van Ness in the head. Jeffrey attempted to shoot Gordon,
but when the gun misfired, he stabbed her in the back. Van Ness died
the next day, but all of the other victims survived the attack.
The Farinas were arrested the
next day when another Taco Bell employee recognized Anthony Farina at a
gas station and called the police.
Anthony and Jeffrey Farina were tried together, convicted, and sentenced
to death. Both of their death sentences were overturned on Direct
On Direct Appeal, after
resentencing, Jeffrey’s death
sentence was reduced to life imprisonment due to his age (16) at the
time of the murder.
05/19/92 Indicted on the following charges:
Count I First-Degree
Count II-IV Attempted First
Count V Armed Robbery
Count VI Burglary of an
Occupied Structure with Battery
Count VII-X Kidnapping
Conspiracy to Commit First-Degree Murder
Jury returned guilty
verdicts for Counts I-VI and XI and not guilty verdicts on Counts VII-X
of the indictment
11/20/92 Jury recommended a death sentence by a vote of 7-5
12/16/92 Sentenced as follows:
Count I First-Degree
Murder – Death
Count II-IV Attempted
First-Degree Murder – Life imprisonment
Burglary of an Occupied Structure with Battery – Life Imprisonment
Count VI Kidnapping – Life
Count XI Conspiracy to Commit
First-Degree Murder – Life Imprisonment
04/18/96 FSC affirmed convictions, vacated the death sentence, and remanded for a new sentencing hearing
Jury recommended a death sentence by a vote of 12-0
Resentenced to death
Farina filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 01/22/93,
citing numerous errors, including multiple allegations of juror
selection error; denial of pretrial motions; prosecutorial error; and
disproportionate sentencing, compared to other crimes.
On 04/18/96, the FSC, citing the trial court’s erroneous excusal of a qualified
prospective juror for cause, affirmed all convictions, but vacated the
death sentence and remanded to the trial court for a new sentencing
04/20/98, the resentencing jury recommended a death sentence by a vote
of 12-0, and
Farina was resentenced to death on 05/07/98.
Farina filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 05/21/98,
citing twelve trial court errors, including claims of error in jury
selection, improper admission of evidence, unfounded aggravating
circumstances, and the proportionality of the death sentence. The FSC
affirmed the death sentence on 08/16/01.
Farina filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme
Court on 03/04/02 that was denied on 06/10/02.
Farina filed a 3.851 Motion with the Circuit Court on 04/04/03 and
amended the Motion on 11/13/03. On 07/12/04, the Circuit Court denied
Farina filed a 3.851 Motion with the Florida Supreme Court on 08/16/04,
raising the following issues: newly discovered evidence, evidentiary
hearing testimonies, and ineffective assistance of counsel. On
07/06/06, the FSC affirmed the denial of the motion.
Farina filed a 3.851 Motion with the Circuit Court on 05/09/05 that is
Farina filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the Florida
Supreme Court on 05/31/05, raising ineffective assistance of counsel
issues. On 07/06/06, the FSC denied the petition.