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Robert R. GORDON





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Murder for hire
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: January 25, 1994
Date of birth: November 25, 1962
Victim profile: Dr. Louis Davidson
Method of murder: Drowning
Location: Pinellas County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on November 16, 1995

Supreme Court of Florida

opinion 86955

DC#   123911

Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pinellas County Case # 94-02958
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Susan R. Schaeffer
Attorney, Trial: Robert A. Love – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal:  Michael Hursey – Private
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Linda McDermott – Private

Date of Offense: 01/25/94

Date of Sentence: 11/16/95

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 remained.

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.

Codefendant Information:

Meryl McDonald was convicted of First-Degree Murder and was sentenced to death.

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 probation.

Leonardo Cisneros remains a fugitive. 

Trial Summary:

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

11/16/95          Sentenced to death

Case Information:

On 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.

On 02/18/99, Gordon filed a 3.850 Motion with the Circuit Court that was denied on 04/23/02.

On 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.

On 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.



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