Twentieth Judicial Circuit,
Charlotte County, Case #92-451-CF
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable
Donald E. Pellecchia
Attorney, Trial: Kevin C.
Attorney, Trial: Mark A. Cooper
– Assistant Public Defender (03/03/94)
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Robert
F. Moeller – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:
Thomas Ostrander & Sara Dyehouse – Registry
Date of Offense: 06/18/92
Date of Sentence: 02/14/94
Circumstances of Offense:
Jack R. Sliney was convicted and
sentenced to death for the murder of a pawnshop owner, George Blumberg.
On 06/18/92, Marilyn Blumberg
discovered her husband, George Blumberg, dead behind the counter of the
pawnshop that they owned and ran together. He had received blunt head
trauma, possibly from being hit with a camera, had been stabbed three
times in the neck with a pair of scissors, and had been hit several
times in the head with a hammer.
The one relevant fingerprint found by
police belonged to Keith Witteman, who Sliney implicated in his
Witness, Kenneth Dobbins,
testified that he saw two young men enter the store and speak with
Blumberg about a piece of jewelry. Composite sketches were drawn from
An officer showed the sketch to his
stepdaughter’s boyfriend, Thomas Capeles, because he was in the same age
group as the suspects and might know them. Capeles did not recognize
either individual. Capeles, however, later contacted the officer
because Jack Sliney, manager of Club Manta Ray, offered to sell him a
gun, and Sliney looked similar to one of the men in the composite
Capeles agreed to assist in the
investigation, and a controlled gun buy was arranged. The serial number
of the gun that was bought from Sliney matched the gun registry from the
Blumberg’s pawnshop. Another controlled gun buy was arranged, and these
guns also matched the pawnshop registry. Sliney was arrested shortly
after the second gun sale.
Sliney confessed to the murder
of Blumberg in both a taped oral statement and in a written statement.
Sliney told officers that he and Witteman went into the store and argued
with Blumberg over the price of a necklace. He reported that Witteman
told him to hit Blumberg and then said that he would have to kill
Blumberg because the victim could identity them.
Sliney admitted to
hitting Blumberg in the head with a camera, stabbing him with scissors,
and finally hitting him with a hammer. During the trial, Sliney
testified that Witteman killed Blumberg, which contradicted his original
statement to the police.
Keith Witteman was convicted and
sentenced to Life for First-Degree Murder during the Commission of a
Felony. He also was sentenced to ten years for Robbery with a Deadly
07/03/92 Sliney was
indicted on the following counts:
Count I: First-Degree
Count II: First-Degree
Count III: Robbery with a
10/01/93 Sliney was
found guilty on all counts charged in the indictment.
advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 7 to 5 majority, voted for the death
02/14/94 Sliney was
sentenced as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Premeditated Murder
Count II: First-Degree Felony Murder –
Count III: Robbery with a Deadly Weapon –
Life, less 607 days for time served
Jack R. Sliney filed a Direct
Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 03/08/94. He raised several
issues on Direct Appeal. Sliney contended that his confession was
forced and should not have been admitted. Another issue was that the
tape from the gun sale between Capeles and Sliney and the tape of
Marilyn Blumberg’s 911 call should not have been allowed.
argued that the trial court erred in not allowing inmates to testify
that they heard Witteman, the codefendant, confess, not allowing
adequate preparation time, and finding aggravating factors. Another
issue argued was that the penalty of death was disproportionate to the
The Florida Supreme Court did not find errors that
warranted reversing the conviction or sentence and affirmed the
conviction and sentence on 07/17/97. Rehearing was denied on 09/18/97.
A mandate was issued on 10/20/97.
Sliney filed a Petition for Writ
of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on 12/17/97. The
United States Supreme Court denied the petition on 02/23/98.
On 02/19/99, Sliney filed a
3.850 Motion in the Charlotte County Circuit Court. Amended motions
were filed on 03/31/99 and 04/12/99. A consolidated motion was filed on
06/19/01. Evidentiary hearings were held on 04/29/02 and 05/09/03.
Amended motions were filed on 10/10/03 and 11/17/03. The motion was
denied on 12/14/04.
On 01/03/05, Sliney filed a
3.850 appeal with the Florida Supreme Court. The appeal is currently
Sliney filed a petition for writ
of habeas corpus in the Florida Supreme Court on 08/19/05. The petition
is currently pending.