Twelfth Judicial Circuit,
Sarasota County Case #95-2207/ 96-1900
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable
Trial Attorney: Fred Mercurio Ė
Special Appointed Public Defender.
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Andrea
Norgard Ė Assistant Public Defender.
Attorneys, Collateral Appeals:
Thomas Dunn & Mark Olive Ė Pro Bono
Date of Offense: 08/17/85
Date of Sentence: 01/22/97
Circumstances of Offense:
The defendant, Robert Trease,
and his accomplice Hope Siegel conspired to rob the victim Paul Edeson.
The robbery resulted in Trease killing the victim with a knife.
Trease and Siegel planned for
her to arrange a date with the victim so that she could learn where the
victim kept a hidden safe. They planned to return later to recover any
money the victim may have had.
Siegel arrived at the victimís home and
after spending time with the victim, determined that he did not have a
safe. She left the victimís residence and met with Trease, to inform him
that the victim did not own a safe.
Trease followed Ms. Siegal back to
the victimís house where he surprised and attacked the victim in an
effort to obtain the safeís location. The victim continued to insist
that he did not have a safe in his house.
Trease told Siegel to get a
gun, which he put to the victimís head as he continued the questioning.
The victim remained uncooperative so Trease fired a non-lethal bullet
into his head and then asked Siegel to retrieve a knife.
He then cut the
victimís throat resulting in his death. Subsequent to his arrest, Trease
denied any knowledge or involvement in the crime. Siegel, however, gave
a detailed statement implicating them both.
Hope Siegel was sentenced on
12-30-96 for Second Degree Murder and received a sentence of 20 years
prison. She was also sentenced on 02-19-97 to one year prison for
Burglary of a Dwelling. (Both charges resulted from the same incident)
08/24/95 Warrant for
09/28/95 Indicted by
the Grand Jury, Case # 95-2207.
Count I: Murder in the First Degree.
10/13/95 Special Pubic
Defender appointed, plea of not guilty entered.
filed for case # 96-1900, *
I: Burglary of a Dwelling with Assault While Armed.
II: Robbery with a Firearm.
12/11/96 The jury found the defendant guilty
of all counts as charged both in the indictment and the information.
12/19/96 Upon advisory sentencing the trial
jury, by a 11 to 1 majority, voted for the death penalty.
01/22/97 The defendant
sentenced as follows; Case #
Count I: Murder in the first Degree- Death Case #
96-1900Count I: Burglary of a Dwelling w/ an Assault While
Count II: Robbery with a Firearm-
*Note, the charges in case #
96-1900 are related to the same incident.
Trease filed his Direct Appeal
to the Florida Supreme Court on 02/28/97. Treaseís initial appeal
contained a number of claims including: the trial court abused its
discretion by failing to appoint co-counsel to assist in the penalty
phase and in denying his request for new counsel, the court erred in
granting the Stateís pre-trial motion, thereby preventing the defense
from cross-examining Siegel regarding her drug addiction, the court gave
little weight to non-statutory mitigating factors, the court erred in
finding that Trease killed the victim in order to avoid a lawful arrest
and the penalty of death was disproportionate.
The Supreme Court
affirmed the convictions and the sentence of death on 08/17/00.
CCRC filed a notice of
appearance in January of 2001. On 03/19/01, Trease filed a motion to
dismiss counsel. On 05/23/01, a 3.850 motion was filed on Treaseís
behalf. A competency hearing was held on 05/24/01.
On 05/31/01, the
trial court entered an order: determining the defendant competent to
proceed, denying the 3.850 motion, granting the defendantís motion to
dismiss counsel. On 09/27/02, the 3.850 motion was reinstated. On
03/27/06, the motion was amended.
On 11/19/01, Governor Jeb Bush
signed a death warrant. The execution was scheduled for 02/07/02,
however, Governor Bush granted a Stay of Execution on 02/06/02.
Robert Jeffrey Trease