Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pinellas
County Case # 94-02958
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable
Susan R. Schaeffer
Attorney, Trial: Robert A. Love
Attorney, Direct Appeal:
Michael Hursey – Private
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:
Linda McDermott – Private
Date of Offense:
Date of Sentence:
Circumstances of Offense:
Robert Gordon and his
codefendant, Meryl McDonald, were hired by Denise Davidson to kill her
estranged husband, Dr. Louis Davidson.
Early on the morning of January
25, 1994, McDonald and Gordon waited in the parking lot of the apartment
complex where Dr. Davidson lived. Gordon met with Dr. Davidson and the
two walked to Davidson’s apartment.
Dr. Davidson’s body was discovered
later that day by his fiancée. His body was blindfolded, bound, gagged,
and hogtied, lying face down in a bathtub full of bloody water. The
apartment had been ransacked, and Davidson’s watch, camera, and money
clip were missing, although $19,300 in cash and some credit cards
The medical examiner testified
that Davidson had bruises on his face and shoulders, three broken ribs,
and multiple lacerations on the back of his scalp, caused by a blunt
object. The cause of Davidson’s death was drowning.
Money transfers from Denise
Davidson to Robert Gordon, as well as phone records and physical
evidence recovered from the hotel where Gordon was staying during the
time of the murder implicated him in the murder scheme.
Meryl McDonald was convicted of First-Degree Murder and was sentenced to
Denise Davidson was convicted in a separate trial of First-Degree Murder
and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Susan Shore agreed to testify for the State, and as a result, her
charges were reduced to accessory after the fact. She was sentenced to
Leonardo Cisneros remains a fugitive.
02/28/94 Indicted on the charge of First-Degree Murder
06/15/95 Jury returned guilty verdict on the sole count of the indictment
06/16/95 Jury recommended the death sentence by a vote of 9-3
Sentenced to death
12/04/95, Gordon filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court,
citing the following errors: denying Gordon’s motion to strike the
venire; denying motion for judgment of acquittal at the close of
evidence; denying request for a separate penalty phase from that of his
codefendant and a new penalty phase jury; disproportional sentencing;
and improper finding of the cold, calculated, and premeditated and
heinous, atrocious, or cruel aggravating factors.
On 11/26/97, the FSC
affirmed the conviction and death sentence.
02/18/99, Gordon filed a 3.850 Motion with the Circuit Court that was
denied on 04/23/02.
05/30/02, Gordon filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal with the Florida Supreme
Court, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. On 12/18/03, the FSC
affirmed the denial of the 3.850 Motion.
05/17/04, Gordon filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the
U.S. District Court, Middle District, which was stricken by the court on
05/26/04. On 12/16/04, the Petition was amended.