Date of Sentence: 04/03/01
Circumstances of the Offense:
Richard Lynch pled guilty to the
03/05/99 murders of Roseanna Morgan and her 13-year-old daughter, Leah
Lynch admitted to having an
extramarital affair with Roseanna Morgan between August 1998 and
February 1999. During that time, they had run up credit card bills.
When Morgan ended the affair, Lynch asked her to assist in the credit
card debt they had acquired together. Additionally, Lynch wrote a
letter to his wife prior to the events on 03/05/99, admitting to the
affair. In the letter, he had directed his wife to letters and pictures
Morgan had given Lynch during the affair.
Lynch asked his wife to send
the letters and pictures to Morgan’s family. He wrote: “I want them to
have a sense of why it happened, some decent closure, a reason and
understanding…” A doctor for the State testified that this was evidence
of a murder-suicide plot.
On 03/05/99, Lynch went to her
apartment with 3 handguns with the intent of getting Morgan to pay off
the credit card bills. When he arrived at the apartment, Morgan was not
there, but Caday was. He showed her the gun he had on him and forced
her to stay there with him until her mom returned.
detectives that he just planned on showing Morgan the guns to make her
sit down and talk to him. He further confessed to shooting her four or
five times with one gun, bringing her into the apartment and then
shooting her in the back of the head with a different gun. Lynch then
admitted that he shot Caday in her back. Both Morgan and Caday died of
their gunshot wounds.
Lynch had called 911 and
admitted to the operator all of the above events and said he was going
to kill himself. He also called his wife three times during the events,
and she testified that she could hear a woman screaming in the
background. The second time he called, she testified that he admitted
to shooting someone.
A few of Morgan’s neighbors
testified to the events of 03/05/99 as well. One neighbor testified to
looking out a peephole after hearing the first gunshots and seeing
Morgan being dragged into her apartment by Lynch. The neighbor further
testified that Morgan was screaming and appeared to be bloody from the
The neighbor also testified that, after Lynch closed the
door, 3 more gunshots were heard. Another neighbor also testified to
hearing 3 more shots 5 or 7 minutes after the first shots.
04/12/01, Lynch filed his Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.
During his appeal, Lynch made several claims. The first claim was the
trial court erred in the finding of HAC as an aggravating factor in
Caday’s murder. He also argues the trial court erred in the finding of
CCP as an aggravating factor in Morgan’s murder.
The FSC found that the
trial court did not err in finding either the HAC or the CCP as
aggravating factors. They found that the suffering and emotional strain
placed on Caday by holding her hostage and watching her mother be
murdered before her own death was, in fact, enough to find the HAC
They also found that the murder of Morgan was cold,
calculated and premeditated in that Lynch shot her 4 or 5 times before
switching guns and then shooting her execution style. Lynch also claims
written sentencing order
was not clear as to whether the judge found the mental health mitigators
to be statutory or nonstatutory mitigators.
Although the Court found
that the sentencing order was not as clear as it could have been, it was
not a reversible error. The Court affirmed the convictions and
sentences on 01/09/03. Subsequently, Lynch’s Motion for Rehearing was
denied on 03/21/03.
06/19/03, Lynch filed for a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the
United States Supreme Court, which was denied on 10/06/03.