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John Errol FERGUSON

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - Drugs - Rape
Number of victims: 8
Date of murders: July 27, 1977 / January 7, 1978
Date of arrest: April 5, 1978
Date of birth: February 27, 1948
Victims profile: Livingston Stocker, 33; Michael Miller, 24; Henry Clayton, 35; John Holmes, 26; Gilbert Williams, 37; Charles Cesar Stinson, 35 / Brian Glenfeld, 17, and Belinda Worley, 17
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Dade County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on May 27, 1983. Executed by lethal injection in Florida on August 5, 2013
 
 

 

The United States Court of Appeals
For the Eleventh Circuit

 
opinion 05-13595 & 05-13877
 
 

 

Florida Supreme Court

 
opinion 76458 opinion 80549 opinion SC96658
 
 

 
 

Summary:

Posing as a Florida Power and Light employee, Ferguson was let into a home by Margaret Wooden to check the electrical outlets. After looking in several rooms, Ferguson drew a gun, then bound and blindfolded Wooden. Ferguson let two accomplices, Marvin Francois and Beauford White, into the home to continue searching for drugs and money. Two hours later, the owner of the home, Livingston Stocker, and five friends returned home and were bound, blindfolded, and searched by Ferguson, Francois, and White. The seven bound and blindfolded people were then moved from the living room to a bedroom. Later, Wooden’s boyfriend, Michael Miller, entered the house and was bound, blindfolded, and searched. Miller and Wooden were moved to another bedroom together and the other six men were moved to the living room. At some point in the evening, Marvin Francois’ mask fell off and his face was revealed to the others. Wooden heard shots coming from the living room, where Francois was shooting the men. Ferguson placed a pillow over Wooden’s head and then shot her. Not fatally wounded, Wooden saw Miller being shot and heard Ferguson run from the room. When the police arrived, they found six dead bodies, all of which had their hands tied behind their back and had been shot in the back of the head. Johnnie Hall survived a shotgun blast to the head and testified regarding the execution of the other men in the living room.

Accomplice White was convicted on all counts and was sentenced to death despite a jury's recommendation for life. He was executed on in 1987. Accomplice Francois was convicted on all counts and was also sentenced to death. He was executed in 1985. Accomplice Adolphus Archie, who drove the car used to drop off and pick up the shooters, pled guilty to Second-Degree Murder and was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment.

Brian Glenfeld and Belinda Worley, both 17 years old, were last seen around 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, 01/08/78. The two were supposed to meet friends at an ice cream parlor, but their bodies were discovered the next morning in a wooded area. Glenfeld’s body was behind the wheel of a car, with gunshot wounds to his chest, arm, and head. Worley’s body was found in a nearby dense growth, where she had been raped and then shot in the head. Several pieces of Worley’s jewelry were missing and cash was missing from Glenfeld’s wallet. Three months later, Ferguson was arrested at his apartment pursuant to a warrant for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. At the time of the arrest, Ferguson was under indictment for the six murders that occurred in 1977. After a consent search of the apartment, in which a gun was recovered that was similar to the gun used to kill Glenfeld and Worley, Ferguson admitted to shooting the couple.

Final / Special Meal:

Ferguson chose to eat the same food other prisoners were being served as his final meal: A meat and vegetable patty, white bread, stewed tomatoes, potato salad, carrots and iced tea.

Final Words:

"I just want everyone to know that I am the prince of God and will rise again."

ClarkProsecutor.org


Miami killer John Errol Ferguson executed

By David Ovalle - MiamiHerald.com

August 5, 2013

STARKE -- After a life of bloodshed on the streets of Miami-Dade, then 35 years lingering on Death Row, Miami murderer John Errol Ferguson’s eyes darted to the execution supervisor looming over him.

“I just want everyone to know that I am the Prince of God and I will rise again,” Ferguson mumbled.

Then, the jowly and grayed 65-year-old rustled his feet underneath the white sheet of the gurney, lifted his head and peered intently at the witness window of the death chamber. At 6:01 p.m. Monday, the lethal drugs pumped through his veins, his head rested down, his mouth gasped and life slowly and quietly slipped away.

Ferguson, a killer of eight and at one time responsible for the largest mass slaughter in Miami-Dade history, was pronounced dead 6:17 p.m.

His execution caps a legacy of violence dating back to 1977, as well as a high-profile legal fight over whether Ferguson’s longtime schizophrenia and stated belief that he is the “Prince of God” made his execution a cruel and unusual punishment.

Michael Worley, whose 17-year-old sister Belinda Worley was raped and shot to death in 1978, said he believed Ferguson’s insanity was “fabricated and coached” even until the end.

“Thank goodness justice finally prevailed and he was finally executed,” Worley told the Miami Herald on Monday night. “I think he got off easy compared to what he did to the victims.”

Ferguson’s lawyers, who witnessed Monday’s execution, had fought for years to spare Ferguson, saying the man had a 40-year history of mental illness dating back to well before the murders.

Lawyer Christopher Handman criticized the U.S. Supreme Court, which on Monday afternoon denied a last-minute appeal to stay the execution.

“He has a fixed delusion that he is the ‘Prince of God’ who cannot be killed and will rise up after his execution to fight alongside Jesus and save America from a communist plot,” Handman said. “He has no rational understanding of the reason for his execution or the effect the death penalty will have upon him.”

Ferguson was the fifth Florida Death Row inmate to be executed since December.

In May, Gov. Rick Scott also signed a death warrant for Miami killer Marshall Lee Gore, but his execution has twice been stayed as his lawyers seek to halt it based on claims he, too, is mentally ill and should not executed. In recent months, Scott has accelerated the pace of death warrants.

Ferguson was one of the state’s longest serving Death Row inmates.

Prosecutors convicted Ferguson of the July 1977 shotgun murders of six people in Carol City during a home-invasion robbery. At the time, it was considered the worst mass murder in Miami-Dade history.

The dead: Livingstone Stocker, 33; Michael Miller, 24; Henry Clayton, 35; John Holmes, 26; Gilbert Williams, 37, and Charles Cesar Stinson, 35. Two survived: Johnnie Hall, 45, and Margaret Wooden, 24.

Ferguson was also convicted separately of murdering Worley and Glenfeldt, both 17-year-old Hialeah High students, in January 1978. The two had gone for ice cream, then parked at a field known as a popular lover’s lane.

Police said Ferguson tried robbing the couple, shooting Glenfeldt behind the wheel of his mother’s 1974 Pontiac LeMans, while Worley’s body was discovered a quarter-mile away; she had been raped and shot.

Michael Worley, who was 13 when his sister was killed, choked up when remembering her Monday night: “She was a good girl. I looked up to her. She had a lot of plans for life and she didn’t get a chance to see them through. He took it away from her.” Worley, who now lives in Broward County, did not attended the execution of his sister’s killer.

Ferguson was also convicted of attempted murder in the robbery of another couple at a lover’s lane. And he was a suspect, but never charged, with the robbery and killing of an elderly couple at a Miami motel.

Monday’s execution date came 10 months after Ferguson was originally slated to die by lethal injection at Florida State Prison in Starke.

After months of legal wrangling, the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in May rejected his appeal, upholding a trial judge’s ruling that Ferguson was competent to be executed.

“That most people would characterize Ferguson’s Prince-of-God belief, in the vernacular, as ‘crazy’ does not mean that someone who holds that belief is not competent to be executed,” according to the federal appeals court’s 65-page opinion.

His lawyers insisted that the state courts and the federal appeals court applied the wrong legal standard, set by the U.S. Supreme Court years ago, in determining Ferguson’s competency.

The federal appeals court’s ruling set the stage for Monday’s new execution date.

Just hours before he was killed, Ferguson dined on standard inmate fare: a meat patty with white bread, steamed tomatoes, potato salad, diced carrots and iced tea.

The convicted killer also met with two of his attorneys, Handman and Patricia Brannon, as well as a spiritual advisor: Sister Marina Aranzabal, according to a corrections spokeswoman.

Several unidentified relatives of the dead sat in the front-row of the death chamber, which has a one-way window facing Ferguson.

In the stuffy and eerie silence, the relatives sat stone-faced until a mocha-colored curtain rose to reveal Ferguson, strapped into the gurney, IVs discretely inserted into veins on each arm.

They sat stone faced but clearly apprehensive. One woman clasped her hands, prayer-like, resting them just below her nose as she watched. Next to her, a man cupped his mouth and chin, tapping his fingers on his lips.

As the minutes ticked away, the drugs took effect.

At 6:17 p.m., a doctor walked in, slid Ferguson’s eyelids up with his fingers and shined a flashlight into his pupils. No response. A stethoscope confirmed: Ferguson was dead.


Florida executes mentally ill killer John Errol Ferguson

By Sarah Muller - Msnbc.com

August 5, 2013

No legal intervention halted the execution of the “Prince of God,” convicted killer and diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic John Errol Ferguson Monday.

Florida executed the convicted mass murderer at 6:17 p.m ET Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court opted not to get involved. After more than 30 years on death row and back-and-forth legal wrangling, Ferguson died by lethal injection at Florida State Prison.

The 65-year-old was found guilty of murdering eight people, including two teenagers, in two different incidents in 1977 and 1978 following his release from a state mental hospital.

In a last-ditch attempt to block the execution, Ferguson’s legal team appealed to the nation’s highest court. His lawyers argued executing Ferguson, who has suffered from a long history of severe mental illness, violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Ferguson believed that he was a “Prince of God” and, upon his death, would rise up to save Americans from a communist plot.

Working through the final hours, Ferguson’s attorney Christopher Handman maintained his client was “insane and incompetent for execution.”

“We are gravely disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court denied John Ferguson’s request to clarify the standard for evaluating an individual’s competence to be executed and denied his request to invoke the Court’s categorical bar on the execution of the insane,” Handman said Monday in a written statement. “Mr. Ferguson has a documented 40-year history of severe mental illness diagnosed repeatedly by state doctors in state institutions. Mr. Ferguson has been profoundly mentally ill for four decades, pre-dating the crimes for which he is scheduled to be executed, but is now deemed suddenly and inexplicably cured.”

In the 2007 case Panetti v. Quarterman, the Supreme Court ruled that a convicted killer must have a rational understanding of why he or she is being put to death and the ultimate impact of execution: that is, death.

The American Bar Association and The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) along with three Florida mental health organizations, filed amicus briefs in support of Ferguson, urging the Supreme Court to grant a stay of execution. But the deadline for the Supreme Court came and went.

“The death penalty is not constitutionally allowable as a punishment for John Ferguson because his delusions prevent him from understanding the nature of what is happening to him,” said Ron Honberg, J.D., NAMI’s national director of policy and legal affairs in a press release. “The constitutional principle does not excuse his crimes, but it does point to life without parole as the appropriate sentence.”

In May, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with an earlier ruling by Florida’s State Supreme Court, declaring that the 65-year-old still had a rational comprehension of the crimes and the reasons for the execution, and therefore, could still be eligible for execution. The federal appeals court wrote in its 65-page opinion, “That most people would characterize Ferguson’s Prince-of-God belief, in the vernacular, as ‘crazy’ does not mean that someone who holds that belief is not competent to be executed.” The court stated that he was “mentally competent to be executed despite his mental illness and the presence of a delusional belief.”

Baylor Johnson, a spokesman for the ACLU of Florida, told MSNBC in a statement, “This execution comes at a time when there is already growing doubt about the accuracy, legality and morality of Florida’s death penalty system. Our state putting a severely mentally ill person to death in spite of the constitutional prohibition only serves to feed that doubt.” He noted, “Constitutional law is clear on this point: killing the severely mentally ill violates the Eighth Amendment’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment. And John Ferguson’s history makes it clear that he [was] severely mentally ill.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott approved the death warrant last fall, which initially scheduled Ferguson‘s execution for October 16, 2012. But legal proceedings at the state and federal level delayed the execution.

In June, Scott signed a bill into law, dubbed the “the Timely Justice Act,” aimed at speeding up the death penalty process.

Ferguson became the fourth inmate to be executed in Florida during the 2013 calendar year.


John Errol Ferguson Executed In Florida Despite Mental Illness Pleas

By Tamara Lush - HuffingtonPost.com

August 5, 2013

STARKE, Fla. -- A man convicted of murdering eight people in Miami-Dade County in the late 1970s was executed Monday night at the Florida State Prison, despite his lawyers' pleas that he was too mentally ill to be put to death.

John Errol Ferguson, 65, died at 6:17 p.m., following a lethal injection.

The execution came less than two hours after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a final request for a stay.

Ferguson made a brief statement before 25 witnesses, including family members of the victims.

"I just want everyone to know that I am the prince of God and will rise again," he said calmly.

About three minutes into the procedure, he moved his head, strained his neck, moved his feet, put his head back down and closed his eyes.

The entire execution took 16 minutes.

About three dozen people protested across the street from the prison.

Ferguson and two others were convicted of killing six people in 1977 during a robbery at a Carol City house used by marijuana dealers. Ferguson dressed as a utility worker to gain access and let his accomplices inside. Most of the victims were friends who happened to drop by the house while Ferguson and the other men were there. The victims were blindfolded and bound, and the encounter turned violent after a mask fell off one of Ferguson's gang members and his face was spotted by a victim.

The decision was made to kill all eight people in the house. Two survived. At the time, it was the worst mass slaying ever in Miami-Dade County.

Ferguson also was convicted of the 1978 murder of a 17-year-old couple, Brian Glenfeldt and Belinda Worley, from Hialeah. They were shot as Ferguson, dressed as a police officer, tried to rob them while they were parked at a lovers' lane. Worley was raped.

The randomness of the crime and the age of the victims stunned many in Miami. Ferguson confessed to killing "the two kids" after he was arrested in April 1978 for the earlier killings, court records show.

Worley's mother, Edna Worley, waited for decades for Ferguson's execution but died last year.

Ferguson was sentenced to die in both cases; he used the insanity defense in the trial over the teenagers' murders.

The issue of Ferguson's mental stability was a current that ran through his life, and his execution came after months of court appeals. Ferguson's lawyers said their client had a long history of mental illness. The attorneys appealed his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying that Ferguson lacked "rational understanding" that he will be executed and that killing him would be "cruel and unusual punishment," violating the Eighth Amendment.

Christopher Handman, Ferguson's lead attorney, said his client's mental illness manifested itself long before the slayings. Ferguson's alcoholic father died when Ferguson was 13, and that's when he started experiencing hallucinations, family members told the attorney. Ferguson also experienced abuse by his mother's boyfriends, then was abandoned by his mom and raised by his sisters in a vermin-infested shack in Miami-Dade County.

When he was 21, he was shot in the head by a police officer in Miami. For several years in the 1970s, Ferguson was in a state mental hospital and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia; he was twice found not guilty of crimes by reason of insanity. Handman said one doctor wrote that Ferguson should not be released because he was a danger to himself and to society.

But he was released and, months later, committed the Carol City murders.

Handman said Monday in a statement that he was disappointed the Supreme Court denied a stay.

"Mr. Ferguson is insane and incompetent for execution by any measure," Handman said. "He has a fixed delusion that he is the `Prince of God' who cannot be killed and will rise up after his execution to fight alongside Jesus and save America from a communist plot. He has no rational understanding of the reason for his execution or the effect the death penalty will have upon him."

Ferguson chose to eat the same food other prisoners were being served as his final meal: A meat and vegetable patty, white bread, stewed tomatoes, potato salad, carrots and iced tea.


John Errol Ferguson

ProDeathPenalty.com

When John Errol Ferguson was 21 years old, he stole a deputy’s gun and was about to shoot when the deputy fished another gun from his boot, shooting Ferguson four times — including a round to the head. In 1975, Ferguson was diagnosed as homicidal and dangerous by court psychiatrists when he was acquitted of six robberies and two assault charges on a plea of insanity. A court-appointed psychiatrist said he was "dangerous to himself and others, homicidal and should not be released under any circumstances." He was was sent to the Florida mental hospital, from which he later escaped.

In May of 1977, police found an elderly couple from St. Petersburg — in town for a funeral — shot to death at Miami’s Gold Dust motel. The couple had been tied up, robbed, brutally beaten and shot, execution-style.

On 27 July 1977, Ferguson, posing as a Florida Power and Light employee, was let into a home by Margaret Wooden on a ruse to check the electrical outlets. After looking in several rooms, Ferguson drew a gun, then bound and blindfolded Margaret. Ferguson let two men, Marvin Francois and Beauford White, into the home to continue searching for drugs and money. Two hours later, the owner of the home, Livingston Stocker, and five friends returned home and were bound, blindfolded, and searched by Ferguson, Francois, and White. The seven bound and blindfolded people were then moved from the living room to a bedroom. Later, Wooden’s boyfriend, Michael Miller, entered the house and was bound, blindfolded, and searched. Miller and Wooden were moved to another bedroom together and the other six men were moved to the living room. At some point in the evening, Marvin Francois’ mask fell off and his face was revealed to the others. Wooden heard shots coming from the living room, where Francois was shooting the men. Ferguson placed a pillow over Wooden’s head and then shot her. Not fatally wounded, Wooden saw Miller being shot and heard Ferguson run from the room. She managed to escape and ran to a neighbor's house to call the police. When the police arrived, they found six dead bodies, all of which had their hands tied behind their back and had been shot in the back of the head. Johnnie Hall survived a shotgun blast to the head and testified regarding the execution of the other men in the living room.

Ferguson was also convicted of attempted murder in the robbery of another couple at a lover's lane. On October 30, he shot and wounded two teenagers when they refused to unlock the car door. The couple drove off, wounded but alive. The next day, he raped a woman. He was also suspected but not charged with the brutal robbery slaying of an elderly St. Petersburg couple at a Miami motel on Biscayne Boulevard. They were in town to attend a funeral. The same gun was used in that crime.

On the evening of 8 January 1978, Brian Glenfeldt and Belinda Worley, both seventeen, left a Youth-for-Christ meeting in Hialeah, Florida. They were supposed to meet friends at an ice cream parlor, but never arrived. The next morning, two passersby discovered their bodies in a nearby wooded area. Glenfeldt had been killed by a bullet to the head and also had been shot in the chest and arm. Worley was found several hundred yards away under a dense growth. All of her clothes, except for her jeans, were next to her body, and she had been shot in the back of the head. An autopsy revealed that she had been raped. At trial, there was testimony that she had been wearing jewelry, but none was found with the bodies. The cash from Glenfeldt’s wallet, which was found in Worley’s purse near her body, also had been removed.

On 5 April 1978, police arrested Ferguson at his apartment pursuant to a warrant for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution in connection with the Carol City murders. At the time of his arrest, police found in his possession a .357 magnum, which was capable of firing .38 caliber bullets, the same kind used to kill Glenfeldt and Worley. The gun was registered to Stocker, one of the victims in the Carol City murders. At some point after Ferguson’s arrest, he confessed to killing “the two kids,” i.e., Glenfeldt and Worley.

Ferguson, White, and Francois were indicted together as coconspirators, but each was tried separately. White was convicted on all counts of the indictment. The jury recommended life imprisonment, but the judge sentenced him to death. White was executed on 08/28/87. Francois was convicted on all counts of the indictment. The jury recommended death sentences, and he was sentenced to death. Francois was executed on 05/29/85. Adolphus Archie, who drove the car used to drop off and pick up the shooters, pled guilty to Second-Degree Murder and was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment.


Inmate: Ferguson, John Errol

DC#  015110
DOB:  02/27/48

Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Dade County Case # 77-28650-D & 78-05428
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Richard S. Fuller
Attorney, Trial: Frederick Robbins & Michael Hacker – Special Assistant Public Defenders
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Michael S. Hacker – Special Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr. – Private

Case # 77-28650-D

Date of Offense: 07/27/77         

Date of Sentence: 05/25/78

Date of Resentence: 05/27/83

Circumstances of Offense:

On 07/27/77, John Ferguson, posing as a Florida Power and Light employee, was let into a home by Margaret Wooden to check the electrical outlets. After looking in several rooms, Ferguson drew a gun, then bound and blindfolded Wooden. Ferguson let two men, Marvin Francois and Beauford White, into the home to continue searching for drugs and money. Two hours later, the owner of the home, Livingston Stocker, and five friends returned home and were bound, blindfolded, and searched by Ferguson, Francois, and White. The seven bound and blindfolded people were then moved from the living room to a bedroom.

Later, Wooden’s boyfriend, Michael Miller, entered the house and was bound, blindfolded, and searched. Miller and Wooden were moved to another bedroom together and the other six men were moved to the living room. At some point in the evening, Marvin Francois’ mask fell off and his face was revealed to the others. Wooden heard shots coming from the living room, where Francois was shooting the men. Ferguson placed a pillow over Wooden’s head and then shot her. Not fatally wounded, Wooden saw Miller being shot and heard Ferguson run from the room.

When the police arrived, they found six dead bodies, all of which had their hands tied behind their back and had been shot in the back of the head. Johnnie Hall survived a shotgun blast to the head and testified regarding the execution of the other men in the living room.

Codefendant Information: Ferguson, White, and Francois were indicted together as coconspirators, but each was tried separately. White was convicted on all counts of the indictment. The jury recommended life imprisonment, but the judge sentenced him to death. White was executed on 08/28/87. Francois was convicted on all counts of the indictment. The jury recommended death sentences, and he was sentenced to death. Francois was executed on 05/29/85. Adolphus Archie, who drove the car used to drop off and pick up the shooters, pled guilty to Second-Degree Murder and was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment.

Trial Summary:

09/15/77 Indicted as follows: Counts I – VI First-Degree Murder, Count VII Attempted First-Degree Murder, Count VIII Attempted First-Degree Murder, Counts IX – XI Armed Robbery.

05/24/78 Jury returned acquitted verdict on Count XII

05/25/78 Jury returned guilty verdicts on Counts I – XI of the indictment

Jury recommended death sentences by a majority vote

Sentenced as follows: Counts I – VI First-Degree Murder – Death, Count VII - Attempted First-Degree Murder – 30 years, Count VIII - Attempted First-Degree Murder – 30 years, Counts IX – XI - Armed Robbery – Life imprisonment

Case # 78-05428

Date of Offense: 01/08/78

Date of Sentence: 10/07/78

Date of Resentence: 05/27/83

Circumstances of Offense: Brian Glenfeld and Belinda Worley, both seventeen years old, were last seen around 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, 01/08/78. The two were supposed to meet friends at an ice cream parlor, but their bodies were discovered the next morning in a wooded area. Glenfeld’s body was behind the wheel of a car, with gunshot wounds to his chest, arm, and head. Worley’s body was found in a nearby dense growth, where she had been raped and then shot in the head. Several pieces of Worley’s jewelry were missing and cash was missing from Glenfeld’s wallet.

On 04/05/78, John Ferguson was arrested at his apartment pursuant to a warrant for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. At the time of the arrest, Ferguson was under indictment for the six murders that occurred on 07/27/77 (case # 77-28650-D). After a consent search of the apartment, in which a gun was recovered that was similar to the gun used to kill Glenfeld and Worley, Ferguson admitted to shooting the couple.

Trial Summary:

04/13/78 Indicted as follows: Count I First-Degree Murder, Count II First-Degree Murder, Count III Armed Sexual Battery, Count IV Armed Robbery, Count V Armed Robbery, Count VI Unlawful Possession of a Firearm While Engaged in a Criminal Offense, Count VII Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, Count VIII Possession of a Firearm by a Felon.

10/07/78 Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment (Count V was reduced to Attempted Armed Robbery by the jury)

Jury recommended death sentences by a majority vote

Sentenced as follows: Count I First-Degree Murder – Death, Count II First-Degree Murder – Death, Count III Armed Sexual Battery – Life Imprisonment, Count IV Armed Robbery – Life Imprisonment, Count V Armed Robbery – 15 year, Count VI Unlawful Possession of a Firearm While Engaged in a Criminal Offense – 15 years, Count VII Possession of a Firearm by a Felon – 15 years, Count VIII Possession of a Firearm by a Felon – 15 years

Prior Incarceration History in the State of Florida:

At the time of each of the murders, Ferguson was on probation, having already served an eighteen month prison sentence for a 1976 conviction for Resisting a Police Officer with Violence. Ferguson’s prior criminal history also included a 1971 Robbery conviction and a 1965 Assault with Intent to Rape conviction, for which Ferguson was sentenced to ten years imprisonment.

Appeal Summary:

Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal (Case# 77-28650-D)
FSC# 55,137
417 So.2d 639
09/25/78 Appeal filed
07/15/82 FSC affirmed convictions, but remanded for resentencing
08/27/82 Mandate issued

Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal (Case# 78-05428)
FSC# 55,498
417 So.2d 631
11/13/78 Appeal filed
07/15/82 FSC affirmed convictions, but remanded for resentencing
08/27/82 Mandate issued

Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal (Consolidated)
FSC# 64,362 & 65,961
474 So.2d 208
10/10/83 Appeal filed
06/27/85 FSC affirmed death sentences
09/09/85 Rehearing denied
10/15/85 Mandate issued

Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion
CC# 77-28650-D & 78-05428
10/15/87 Motion filed
06/19/90 Circuit Court denied Motion

Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Motion Appeal
FSC# 76,458
593 So.2d 508
08/10/90 Appeal filed
02/06/92 FSC affirmed denial of 3.850 Motion
02/26/92 Mandate issued

Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
FSC# 80,549
632 So.2d 53
10/01/92 Petition filed
12/09/93 FSC denied Petition
02/24/94 Rehearing denied

U.S. District Court, Southern District – Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
USDC# 95-573
03/20/95 Petition filed
05/15/00 USDC administratively closed case pending resolution of state proceedings
08/07/01 Case reopened
11/02/01 Supplemental brief filed
09/26/03 Petition amended
05/19/05 USDC denied petition

Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion
CC# 77-28650-D & 78-05428
07/10/99 Motion filed
08/18/99 Circuit Court denied Motion

Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Motion Appeal
FSC# 96,658
789 So.2d 306
01/27/00 Appeal filed
05/10/01 FSC affirmed denial of 3.850 Motion
06/11/01 Mandate issued

U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit – Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Appeal
USCA# 05-13595
06/17/05 Appeal filed
08/26/09 USCA affirmed denial of Habeas

U.S. Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari
USSC# 09-1186
03/31/10 Petition filed
06/01/10 Petition denied

Clemency Hearing: 03/10/87 Clemency hearing held (denied)

Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition of Sentence: The delay in this case appears to arise from the resentencing of Ferguson and from the pending Federal Habeas Petition that was filed on 03/20/95.

Case Information:

Ferguson filed a Direct Appeal (FSC# 55,137; CC# 77-28650-D) with the Florida Supreme Court on 09/25/78, citing the following errors: unconstitutionality of the death penalty, failure to provide written statements of support for the death penalty in the case, improper prosecutorial comments during closing arguments, and admission of prejudicial statements about Ferguson’s prior incarceration. On 07/15/82, the FSC affirmed the convictions, but vacated the death sentences and remanded to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing, finding that the trial court improperly weighed the aggravating and mitigating circumstances in the case.

Ferguson filed a Direct Appeal (FSC# 55,498; CC# 78-05428) with the Florida Supreme Court on 11/13/78, citing the following errors: unconstitutionality of the death penalty, failure to suppress evidence, admission of evidence of the other murders, and improper prosecutorial comments during closing arguments. On 07/15/82, the FSC affirmed the convictions, but vacated the death sentences and remanded to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing, finding that the trial court improperly weighed the mitigating circumstances in the case.

Ferguson was resentenced to death on 05/27/83.

Ferguson filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 10/10/83, citing the following errors: failure to allow an evidentiary hearing during resentencing; improper finding of the cold, calculated, and premeditated murder aggravating circumstance; and consideration of evidence not in the trial record. On 06/27/85, the FSC affirmed the death sentence.

Ferguson filed a 3.850 Motion with the Circuit Court on 10/15/87, which was denied on 06/19/90.

Ferguson filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 08/10/90, citing ineffective assistance of counsel and improper jury instructions regarding non-statutory mitigating evidence. On 02/06/92, the FSC affirmed the denial of the 3.850 Motion.

Ferguson filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the Florida Supreme Court on 10/01/92, citing the following errors: a different sentencing judge upon resentencing; vague jury instructions regarding the heinous, atrocious, or cruel murder aggravating circumstances; failure to grant a defense motion to stop giving Ferguson anti-psychotic drugs; and ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. The FSC denied the Petition on 12/09/93.

Ferguson filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the U.S. District Court, Southern District on 03/20/95. On 05/15/00, the USDC administratively closed the case pending resolution of state proceedings. On 08/07/01, the case was reopened, and on 11/02/01, Ferguson filed a supplemental brief with the court. On 09/26/03, Ferguson amended the Petition. The petition was denied on 05/19/05.

Ferguson filed a 3.850 Motion with the Circuit Court on 07/10/99, which was denied on 08/18/99.

Ferguson filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 01/27/00, citing eleven issues, most of which focused on claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and withholding of evidence by the State. On 05/10/01, the FSC affirmed the denial of the 3.850 Motion.

Ferguson filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit on 06/17/05. The District Courts denial of the Petition was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals on 08/26/09.

Ferguson filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on 03/31/10. The petition was denied on 06/01/10.

FloridaCapitalCases.state.fl.us



John Errol Ferguson

 

 

 
 
 
 
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