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Darius Mark KIMBROUGH

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape - Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: October 3, 1991
Date of arrest: 5 months later
Date of birth: December 4, 1972
Victim profile: Denise Collins, 28
Method of murder: Beating
Location: Orange County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on December 9, 1994. Executed by lethal injection on November 12, 2013
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Florida Supreme Court

 

Docket #84989 - Darius Mark Kimbrough, Appellant, vs. State of Florida, Appellee.

 
opinion initial brief of appellant
 
answer brief of appellee reply brief of appellant
 
 

Docket #SC02-1158 - Darius Mark Kimbrough, Appellant, vs. State of Florida, Appellee. 886 So. 2d 965; June 24, 2004

Docket #SC03-228 - Darius Mark Kimbrough, Petitioner, vs. James V.Crosby, Jr., Respondent. 886 So. 2d 965; June 24, 2004

 
opinion initial brief of appellant
 
answer brief of appellee reply brief of appellant
 
 
 
 
 
 

Darius Kimbrough, who killed Orange County woman, is executed

OrlandoSentinel.com

November 12, 2013

STARKE — Rapist and killer Darius Kimbrough, who spent nearly 19 years on death row for the murder of an Orange County woman, died by lethal injection Tuesday evening at Florida State Prison as relatives of victim Denise Collins watched.

Kimbrough answered, "No, sir," when asked whether he wanted to make a statement.

The 40-year-old killer blinked as he lay on a gurney just before the deadly chemicals began to flow through his body at 6:01 p.m.

For 17 minutes, he lay motionless. A doctor then shined a light in his eyes, placed a stethoscope to his chest and pronounced him dead at 6:18.

Kimbrough was covered with a white sheet, his feet to the witnesses, who watched through a long, horizontal pane.

Aside from an occasional cough, no one made a sound.

Orange-Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton was among the witnesses. He was one of two prosecutors on the case early in his career. On his left sat his co-counsel, Ted Culhan. To his right was Riggs Gay, the Orange County sheriff's detective who investigated the killing.

Annette Collins, the victim's only sibling, thanked the investigators and prosecutors in a news conference after the execution. Collins said she and her mother were grateful that justice had been served.

Her mom, Diane Stewart, described the execution as very peaceful and quiet — "not at all what he deserved."

Stewart, with tears in her eyes, said Kimbrough "went out a lot cleaner and neater" than her daughter. Stewart and Collins traveled from New Jersey to watch Kimbrough die.

Hours before the execution, the condemned prisoner ate his last meal and visited with a chaplain and family members. Kimbrough requested a final meal of two slices of pizza, fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, chicken gizzards, chocolate-chip ice cream and fruit punch.

He ate most of it about 9:45 a.m., Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jessica Cary said.

Kimbrough was visited by a chaplain and by his mother, three aunts, a cousin and a friend, Cary said. She described his demeanor as calm.

He was convicted in July 1994 of first-degree murder, sexual battery and burglary. A judge sentenced him to death in December of that year after a jury recommended, 11-1, that he die for killing Collins, 28.

Kimbrough was two months shy of his 19th birthday in October 1991 when he climbed a ladder to Collins' second-floor balcony at Carousel Club Apartments on Rio Grande Avenue south of Orlando, broke in through a sliding-glass door and attacked her in her bedroom.

He broke Collins' jaw and skull during the struggle. She died the next day in a hospital after life support was disconnected.

An aspiring graphic artist and fashion designer, Collins had moved to the complex about two months before she was killed because it was affordable and allowed her two cats.

The crime went unsolved until Kimbrough was arrested for raping a 22-year-old woman in March 1992 in the Conway neighborhood. He was sentenced to 101/2 years for burglary and sexual battery.

DNA from that attack connected him to the Collins assault.

Two weeks before her murder, Collins complained to management at her apartment complex that someone was following her, making lewd comments and threatening to hurt her if she called police.

 
 

Florida killer has last meal before 6 p.m. execution for 1991 Orange murder

By Susan Jacobson, Orlando Sentinel

November 12, 2013

STARKE — Hours before he was schedule to be executed by lethal injection Tuesday, killer Darius Kimbrough ate his last meal and visited with a chaplain and family members.

After spending nearly 19 years on death row for the murder of an Orange County woman, Kimbrough requested a final meal of two slices of pizza, fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, chicken gizzards, chocolate-chip ice cream and fruit punch.

He ate most of it about 9:45 a.m., Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jessica Cary said.

Kimbrough was visited by a chaplain and by his mother, three aunts, a cousin and a friend, Cary said. She described his demeanor as calm.

Kimbrough was convicted in July 1994 of first-degree murder, sexual battery and burglary. A judge sentenced him to death in December of that year after a jury recommended, 11-1, that he die for killing 28-year-old Denise Collins.

Kimbrough was two months shy of his 19th birthday when he climbed a ladder to Collins' second-floor balcony at Carousel Club Apartments on Rio Grande Avenue south of Orlando, broke in through a sliding-glass door and attacked her in her bedroom.

Kimbrough broke Collins' jaw and skull as she apparently struggled for her life. She died the next day in a hospital after life support was disconnected.

An aspiring graphic artist and fashion designer, Collins had moved to the complex about two months before she was killed because it was affordable and allowed her two cats.

The crime went unsolved until Kimbrough was arrested for raping a 22-year-old woman five months later in the Conway neighborhood. He was sentenced to 10 1/2 years for burglary and sexual battery.

DNA from that attack connected him to the Collins assault.

Two weeks before her murder, Collins complained to management at her apartment complex that someone was following her, making lewd comments and threatening to hurt her if she called the police.

 
 

Florida's 'last meal': Part of death-row lore

The infamous 'last meal' is steeped in history and the subject of curiosity, but some experts say it's also a symbol of humanity — even forgiveness

By Susan Jacobson, Orlando Sentinel

November 11, 2013

On the last day of their lives, Florida murderers Clarence Hill and Angel Nieves Diaz asked for taco fixings.

Tampa rapist Oba Chandler ate two salami sandwiches on white bread and half a peanut-butter-and-grape-jelly sandwich.

Panhandle killer Arthur Rutherford requested fried green tomatoes, fried freshwater catfish, fried eggplant, hush puppies and sweet tea.

The men were part of a tradition that will play out again Nov. 12, when Orange County rapist and killer Darius Kimbrough is scheduled to die by lethal injection.

Most recently, William Happ, who killed a Lauderdale Lakes woman, ordered a 12-ounce box of assorted chocolates and 1 1/2 quarts of German chocolate ice cream before he was executed Tuesday.

Last meals are a way to provide humane treatment in a dignified death-penalty procedure, said Florida Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jessica Cary.

They also distinguish executions from the criminal slayings the condemned committed, said Daniel LaChance, an assistant professor of history at Emory University who studies capital punishment.

"The last meal is part of the process to demonstrate there is no malice on the part of the people who carry out the execution," said Bob Dekle, who teaches at the University of Florida's Levin College of Law and was the chief prosecutor in the Ted Bundy murder case.

In Florida, last meals must cost no more than $40, be purchased locally and prepared at the prison. No fast food allowed, Cary said.

John Spenkelink, the first murderer to be executed in Florida after the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, shared a flask of Jack Daniel's whiskey with the prison superintendent, who came up with the idea, according to the Florida Department of Corrections website.

People got upset, thinking it was unseemly and he didn't deserve the privilege, Dekle said. Today, no alcohol is allowed.

Some inmates take the opportunity to indulge at a time when calories don't count.

Jacksonville murderer Allen Lee Davis, for instance, requested lobster tail, fried potatoes, a half-pound of fried shrimp, six ounces of fried clams, half a loaf of garlic bread and a quart of A&W root beer before his 1999 execution, according to published reports.

Others, such as serial killer Aileen Wuornos, decline a last meal. She drank a cup of coffee about nine hours before her execution.

A few use the occasion to make a religious or political statement.

In Florida, condemned prisoners are served breakfast at 6 a.m on the day of their execution. They are given a last meal about 10 a.m. and allowed to eat it with visitors present.

Critics say last meals are an undeserved perk. But others see them as a fleeting gift of freedom.

"These last meals — and last words — show the state is democratic and respects individuality even as it's holding people accountable," LaChance, the Emory professor, said. "As horrible as [is] the deed they've been convicted of, the person still has some kind of dignity that we're acknowledging."

 
 

FL man who killed, raped woman is set to be executed

Winknews.com

November 10, 2013

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Denise Collins was found nude, moaning, covered in blood and barely conscious in her apartment's bathroom in October 1991. The sliding glass door to the second-floor balcony was partially open, and there were ladder impressions in the ground underneath the balcony.

The 28-year-old aspiring artist was rushed to a hospital where she died the next day. Detectives found semen on her sheets and pubic hairs in her bed and in a towel.

A neighbor in Collins' Orlando complex told detectives he had seen a man near Collins' apartment near a ladder by the apartment's balcony, and the neighbor later identified Darius Kimbrough, 19, as the man from a picture lineup. A maintenance man at the complex also said Kimbrough had watched him putting away a ladder in the complex around the time of the murder. Kimbrough was charged with the first-degree murder, sexual assault and burglary almost a year later. He was found guilty at his 1994 trial, during which experts testified that blood and semen samples taken from Collins' bed were compatible with Kimbrough's DNA.

More than two decades after Collins' death, Kimbrough is scheduled to be executed Tuesday at Florida State Prison in Starke.

"He lived 22 years too long and too well and he's going to go out clean and easy, and he doesn't deserve it," said Diane Stewart, Collins' mother, in a recent telephone interview. "She didn't go out that way, and he doesn't deserve what he's getting. He should go out the way she did. That's how we feel."

Stewart, who lives in New Jersey, said she planned to attend the execution with Collins' sister.

Kimbrough's attorneys are appealing the active death warrant. In previous appeals, his defense attorneys have said the evidence was circumstantial and that the neighbor who placed Kimbrough by Collins' apartment balcony was elderly and had memory lapses. Kimbrough says he had ineffective legal representation at his trial and that his attorney didn't hire a mental health professional to evaluate him.

Kimbrough's attorneys had blamed Collins' former boyfriend for the crimes. He had beaten her previously, they said, and he had a key to her apartment. That evidence was excluded from his trial, and Kimbrough's attorneys argued it should have been allowed to be introduced to jurors.

Gary Boodhoo, the former boyfriend, described the defense attorneys' allegations as ludicrous.

"It was devastating. I was suffering a loss. Everyone was suffering a loss," said Boodhoo, a video game designer in San Francisco. "I thought it was hateful and hurtful."

Defense attorneys also said a juror didn't reveal that his fiancee was employed at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, whose crime lab analyst testified at the trial, and that the DNA testing used to convict Kimbrough was faulty.

"The defendant was denied his right to a fair and impartial jury by prejudicial pretrial publicity, by lack of a change of venue, by failure to sequester the jury and by events in the courtroom during trial," Kimbrough's post-conviction attorney Robert Strain said in a recent filing. Strain didn't return a phone call.

A month after Kimbrough was convicted of first-degree murder, but before he was sentenced, court officials learned that three jurors had read a newspaper article about the victim. Kimbrough's attorneys asked for a mistrial for the penalty phase and a separate jury was picked to decide a sentence. Jurors recommended death by a vote of 11-1.

Collins was an aspiring artist at the time of her death. She went to high school in Titusville and attended colleges in Boston. She got a job at Kinko's in Orlando after earning a fine arts degree, but she wanted to be a graphic artist. She loved cats and was "big-hearted," said her mother.

"She had a very pleasing personality. She was outgoing and laid-back," Stewart said. "She was very pretty, a very attractive girl."

Collins spent her last evening listening to CDs at a friend's apartment along with other friends, including Boodhoo. She returned to her apartment at night, and detectives believe she was attacked sometime between midnight and 4 a.m. the next day.

Medical examiner testified at trial that Collins had a fractured jaw. The cause of death was ruled hemorrhaging and brain injury from blunt injury to the face. There were tears and swelling around her vagina, according to the medical examiner's report.

Boodhoo recalled Collins as a loving person who did work in painting, drawing and collages.

"There was such a beauty to her work, her personality, her relationship with others," Boodhoo said. "I'm just glad he's going to die ... I couldn't be happier about it. He's the worst kind of human being there is."

 
 

Killer Darius Kimbrough's execution nears: 'There's no forgiveness,' victim's family says

By Susan Jacobson, Orlando Sentinel

November 9, 2013

Twenty-two years of rage and pain live inside Diane Stewart.

Life as she knew it stopped Oct. 3, 1991, the day her 28-year-old daughter, Denise Collins, was raped in her Orange County apartment and beaten to death.

Tuesday is the day Stewart has been waiting for all these years.

The New Jersey mother and her surviving daughter, Annette Collins, plan to travel to Florida to witness the execution of Darius Kimbrough, the man convicted of the savage attack.

It's past time, Stewart said.

"There's no closure," she said. "There's no forgiveness for him from either of us. No forgiveness whatsoever. Twenty-two years is outrageous. It's just outrageous."

If 40-year-old Kimbrough is put to death as scheduled, he will be the 81st person executed in Florida since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstituted the death penalty in 1976 and the second man executed using a new drug.

A pending federal lawsuit alleges that the drug, one of three used in the process, violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Stewart is unmoved: "He's going to leave this planet much easier than she did."

'This is justice'

Denise and Annette Collins were best friends. They loved going to the beach and antiquing together, playing Monopoly and cards, listening to pop music and styling each other's hair.

Denise was an aspiring graphic artist and fashion designer who could take cloth scraps and transform them, her sister said.

"It looked like couture from a high-fashion store," said Annette Collins, now 51 and living in Ocean County, N.J.

Denise Collins graduated from Titusville High School and Brevard Community College — now Eastern Florida State College — and briefly attended art school in Boston. She drew, painted and sculpted.

She was working at a Kinko's copy center and had recently moved to Carousel Club Apartments on Rio Grande Avenue south of Orlando when she was murdered.

"Sometimes you sit here even after all these years and can't believe this happened to your loved one, your family," Annette Collins said. "It doesn't go away. The shock of it just doesn't go away."

Denise Collins had complained to a manager at her apartment complex that a stranger, thought to have been Kimbrough, was harassing her with lewd comments and had threatened her. He lived with his mother in a different building at Carousel Club.

One night, Kimbrough, then 18, put a ladder against Collins' second-floor balcony, climbed up and broke in through a sliding-glass door. He raped her in her bed, punched her in the face, broke her jaw and fractured numerous bones in her skull.

Orange-Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton, who prosecuted the case early in his career, remembers seeing blood everywhere in Collins' bedroom. He also remembers standing at the foot of her hospital bed as machines kept her alive.

She died the day after the beating when life support was disconnected. Her sister was there, holding her hand.

Kimbrough was arrested after he raped another Orange County woman in March 1992, leaving DNA evidence that connected him to the attack on Denise Collins. He was sentenced to 101/2 years in prison for that crime.

Ashton plans to attend the execution with Assistant State Attorney Ted Culhan, who was his co-counsel on the case, and Riggs Gay, the sheriff's detective who investigated.

2 mothers' losses

Annie Kimbrough has suffered a loss, too. Darius is her only child, and she believes him when he says he is innocent.

But the Florida Supreme Court denied Kimbrough's appeal Oct. 31, paving the way for the execution to move forward. On Friday, the court denied a written request from Kimbrough to review the case again.

"If I am going to die I at least give me a fair chance to fight for my life," Kimbrough wrote.

Kimbrough's state-provided attorney, Robert Strain, would not comment.

This year in Florida, six killers already have been put to death — the largest number in one year since 1984, when eight men were executed. Only Texas, with 14, has executed more people in 2013.

Annie Kimbrough is hoping for a last-minute reprieve. If none comes, her son will die at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Florida State Prison.

"I'm just praying," said the Orlando woman, whose 59th birthday is Tuesday.

Stewart, 69, was living in Florida when Denise was murdered, but she moved away about three years later and could bring herself to return only once, to a memorial service for a friend.

On this trip, she and her daughter hope they will find some measure of peace.

"It's very important for us to see it [the execution] because it's the only redemption we'll ever have as far as he's concerned," Annette Collins said. "And for my sister as well."

 
 

Execution set for rapist who murdered Orange County woman in 1991

By Susan Jacobson, Orlando Sentinel

October 8, 2013

An Orange County rapist and murderer will be executed next month after nearly 19 years on death row, the Florida Supreme Court announced.

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed a death warrant for Darius Kimbrough, who broke into his neighbor Denise Collins' apartment Oct. 3, 1991, by climbing a ladder to her second-floor unit and slipping in through a sliding-glass door.

He raped her in her bed, beat her and banged her head against a wall. She died of head injuries the next day.

Two weeks before she was killed, Collins, 28, complained to managers at what was then Carousel Club apartments that a heavyset stranger with gold teeth was stalking her. He made lewd remarks and threatened to hurt her when she told him she would call the police.

Kimbrough, now 40, was arrested after raping another woman five months later in the Conway neighborhood. The 22-year-old victim was asleep when Kimbrough, identified through fingerprints on a window, broke into her bedroom and assaulted her.

He left behind DNA that linked him to the attack on Collins, who had moved into the complex on Rio Grande Avenue two months before she was killed and was working at a Kinko's copy center in downtown Orlando.

A jury in 1994 found Kimbrough, who was 18 when he killed Collins, guilty of first-degree murder, sexual battery and burglary. Jurors recommended the death penalty by a vote of 11-1.

Orange-Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton, then an assistant state attorney, was one of the prosecutors on the case and argued that the killing was especially brutal. Orange Circuit Judge Dorothy Russell in December 1994 sentenced Kimbrough to death for the murder and life in prison for the rape and burglary.

A year earlier, Kimbrough was sentenced to 10 1/2 years in prison for burglary with assault and sexual battery in the March 9, 1992 attack on the woman in Conway.

He is scheduled to die by lethal injection Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. He is being held at Florida State Prison in Raiford.

 
 

Darius Mark Kimbrough

DC# 374123
DOB: 12/04/72

Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange County Case# 92-10868
Sentencing Judge:  The Honorable Dorothy J. Russell
Attorneys, Trial:  Patricia Cashman & Kelly Sims – Assistant Public Defenders
Attorney, Direct Appeal:  George D.E. Burden – Assistant Public Defender
Attorneys, Collateral Appeals:  Robert T. Strain & Carol Rodriguez – CCRC-M

Date of Offense:  10/03/91

Date of Sentence:  12/09/94

Circumstances of Offense:

Darius Kimbrough was convicted of burglary, sexual battery, and the murder of Denise Collins, which occurred on 10/03/91.

Denise Collins was discovered in her bathroom by paramedics. She was nude, semiconscious, and covered in blood. The sliding glass door on her second-floor apartment was partially open, and there were ladder impressions on the ground under the balcony. Collins was rushed to the hospital but died shortly thereafter.

A resident of the apartment complex, told police that he had seen a man near the apartment and had seen a ladder leaning on the apartment’s balcony. Police had trouble locating the man Lee had described, but Lee later identified Kimbrough from a picture lineup. A workman at the apartment complex identified Kimbrough as the man who had watched him put away a ladder in the complex at the time of the murder.

Police took semen evidence from the bed sheets, blood evidence from Collins’ body, and found pubic hairs in the bed and on a towel. The samples were sealed in a bag and sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab for analysis.

The DNA evidence showed that the semen taken from the bed sheets matched Kimbrough’s, and some of the pubic hairs matched his. However, additional pubic hairs from another unidentified black male and a Caucasian male were also found. The DNA evidence indicated that the blood samples taken from the bed matched Kimbrough’s.

The medical examiner testified that the cause of death was hemorrhaging and head injury to the brain caused by blunt trauma to the face. There were bruises on her arms and evidence of vaginal injury, including tears and swelling consistent with penetration.

Trial Summary:

10/03/91          Indicted as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder

Count II:          Burglary

Count III:         Sexual Battery 

07/01/94          Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment.

11/09/94          Jury recommended death by a vote of 11-1.

12/09/94          Sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder – Death

Count II:          Burglary – Life

Count III:         Sexual Battery – Life

Case Information:

On 01/11/95 Kimbrough filed a Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. The Court found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing DNA evidence; in failing to find age as a statutory mitigator; and, prohibiting defense testimony that the victim’s ex-boyfriend had beaten her during their relationship.

The Court also found that the death sentence was not disproportionate to the crime, and that substantial evidence supported the finding that the murder was committed during the course of sexual battery. The Court affirmed his conviction and sentence on 08/21/97.

Kimbrough filed a Petition of Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court on 01/16/98 and was denied on 03/23/98.

Kimbrough filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court on 07/30/98, which was denied on 04/26/04.

Kimbrough filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on 05/24/02, which was denied on 06/24/04.  The mandate was issued on 09/30/04.

Kimbrough filed a Habeas Corpus to the Florida Supreme Court on 02/10/03, which was denied on 06/24/04.  The mandate was issued on 09/30/04.

On 02/22/025, Kimbrough filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to the United States District Court, Middle District, which is currently pending.

FloridaCapitalCases.state.fl.us

 

 

 
 
 
 
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