The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly. This information, however, is subject to change and may not reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not be relied on for statistical or legal purposes.
CAVE, Alphonso (B/M)
DC # 087429
Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, Martin County, Case #82-9546-CF
(Trial venue changed to Sixth Judicial Circuit)
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable L.B. Vocelle
Judge, Resentencing I: The Honorable Thomas J. Walsh Jr.
Judge, Resentencing II: The Honorable C. Pfeiffer Trowbridge
Trial Attorney: Karen Steger – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Wayne R. McDonough – Private
Attorney, Resentencing I: Jeffrey H. Garland – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal II: Jeffrey H. Garland – Private
Attorney, Resentencing II: Jeffrey H. Garland – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal III: Jeffrey H. Garland – Private
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Mary Bonner – Registry
Date of Offense: 04/27/82
Date of Sentence: 12/10/82
Date of Resentence I: 06/25/93
Date of Resentence II: 02/21/97
Circumstance of Offense:
During an armed robbery, the defendant, Alphonso Cave, and three accomplices kidnapped the victim, 18-year-old Frances Julia Slater. One of the men later stabbed her, another fired a fatal shot into her head.
On the evening of April 26, 1982, Cave, along with John Bush, J.B. Parker and Terry Wayne Johnson, left Fort Pierce, Florida, and drove to Stuart, Florida. They arrived in Stuart at approximately 11 p.m. that evening. Around 3 a.m. on April 27, the four pulled up to a convenience store in Stuart. Cave and two of the men entered the store where Cave held a gun on Slater and demanded the store’s cash. After taking the cash, the men abducted Slater, placing her in the back seat of the car. They drove to a rural area where she was removed from the car by the four men. One of the men then stabbed her and, when she fell, another fired a single lethal shot into the back of her head. The men then departed the scene for Fort Pierce but were stopped by police approximately one hour later because of a broken taillight. They were released at that time but later apprehended when the car and its occupants were linked to the convenience store crime.
John Bush was convicted of First-Degree Murder, Robbery with a Firearm and Kidnapping, and in 1982 was sentenced to death for the murder conviction. He was executed in 1996.
J.B. Parker was convicted of First-Degree Murder, Robbery with a Firearm and Kidnapping, and in 1982 was sentenced to death for the murder conviction. After 11 appeals, he was resentenced to death in 2000.
Terry Wayne Johnson was convicted in 1993 of First-Degree Murder and Kidnapping. He is serving life sentences for each of the convictions.
12/08/82 As charged in the indictment, the defendant was adjudicated as followed:
Count I: First-Degree Murder
Count II: Robbery with a Firearm
Count III: Kidnapping
12/09/82 Upon advisory sentencing, the trial jury recommended the death penalty for the murder conviction by a 7 to 5 vote.
12/10/82 The defendant was sentenced as followed:
Count I: First-Degree Murder – Death
Count II: Robbery with a Firearm – Life Imprisonment
Count III: Kidnapping – Life Imprisonment
Resentencing I Summary:
05/07/93 The jury recommended the death penalty by a 10 to 2 vote.
06/25/93 Defendant was resentenced to death.
Resentencing II Summary:
11/22/96 The jury recommended the death penalty by an 11 to 1 vote.
02/21/97 Defendant was resentenced to death.
Florida Supreme Court - Direct Appeal (I)
476 So. 2d 180
01/07/83 Appeal filed.
08/30/85 FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence.
10/21/85 FSC denied motion for rehearing.
United State Supreme Court - Petition for Writ of Certiorari
476 U.S. 1178
12/19/85 Petition filed.
06/09/86 USSC denied petition for writ of certiorari.
State Circuit Court - 3.850 Motion (I)
05/27/88 Motion filed.
06/21/88 Trial court denied 3.850 Motion.
United States District Court - Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
07/05/88 Petition filed.
08/03/90 USDC vacated and remanded sentence.
09/25/90 Motion for rehearing denied.
Florida Supreme Court - 3.850 Appeal
529 So. 2d 293
06/21/88 Appeal filed.
07/01/88 FSC affirmed trial court’s denial of 3.850 Motion.
United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit - Appeal of Habeas Ruling
971 F.2d 1513
09/25/90 State filed appeal (defendant filed cross-appeal).
08/26/92 USCA affirmed District Court’s order to vacate and remand sentence.
09/17/92 Mandate issued.
Florida Supreme Court - Direct Appeal (II)
660 So. 2d 705
09/10/93 Appeal filed.
09/21/95 FSC vacated the sentence and remanded.
Florida Supreme Court - Direct Appeal (III)
727 So. 2d 227
03/24/97 Appeal filed.
12/24/98 FSC affirmed the resentence.
03/02/99 Motion for rehearing denied.
04/01/99 Mandate issued.
United States Supreme Court - Petition for Writ of Certiorari
528 U.S. 841
06/01/99 Petition filed.
10/04/99 USSC denied petition for writ of certiorari.
State Circuit Court - 3.851 Motion (II)
09/27/00 Motion filed.
03/15/01 Amended motion filed.
11/18/02 Motion denied.
12/19/02 Rehearing denied.
Florida Supreme Court - 3.850 Appeal
899 So.2d 1042
01/21/03 Appeal filed.
01/27/05 Denial affirmed.
04/07/05 Rehearing denied.
04/25/05 Mandate issued.
United States District Court, Southern District - Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
04/29/05 Petition filed.
09/28/09 Petition denied.
10/27/09 Motion for COA filed.
11/02/09 COA granted in part and denied in part.
United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit – Habeas Appeal
11/12/09 Appeal filed.
04/27/88 Death warrant signed by Governor Martinez.
07/07/88 Scheduled execution date.
07/05/88 United States District Court, Middle District, granted stay of execution.
12/07/87 Hearing held (denied).
Factors Contributing to the Delay in the Imposition of the Sentence:
Cave being resentenced to death twice is the chief cause of delay in this case. The resentencing essentially started the appeals process over each time. More than eight years passed from the time the U.S. District Court vacated the first death sentence in 1990 to the Florida Supreme Court’s affirmation of the trial court’s third sentence in 1998. Also noteworthy are two years of inactivity between the denial of the defendant’s first petition to the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari in 1996 and the filing of his 3.850 Motion in 1988.
Cave filed a direct appeal with the Florida Supreme Court in 1983. The court affirmed the trial court’s conviction and sentence in 1985. The defendant then petitioned the United States Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari the same year. The court denied the petition in 1986.
Governor Martinez signed a death warrant on Cave in April 1988 that quickly prompted two appeals. The defendant in May 1988 filed a 3.850 motion with the trial court that the court quickly denied a few weeks later. The Florida Supreme affirmed the trial court’s decision in July. Cave then petitioned the U.S. District Court, Middle District, for a writ of habeas corpus. The court held that Cave received ineffective assistance of counsel at the guilt and penalty phases of his trial, but prejudice occurred only during the sentencing phase. Specifically, Cave contended that his counsel did not understand that emphasizing Cave's admission of guilt in the robbery, which resulted in the victim's death, would lead to a conviction for first degree murder under Florida's felony murder statute, regardless of the fact that Cave did not shoot Slater. Further, Cave contended that his attorney was so convinced that she would win an acquittal for her client that she failed to prepare for the sentencing hearing. The district court agreed. Accordingly, two days before his scheduled execution date in July, the court granted a stay of execution, vacated the sentence and remanded.
The state in 1990 appealed the federal court’s order to the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The appeals court affirmed the order in 1992.
The trial court resentenced Cave to death in 1993 and the defendant again appealed the decision to the Florida Supreme Court. The court found that a procedural error occurred in the circuit court’s disposition of Cave’s motion for disqualification of the resentencing judge. Specifically, the court held that the judge, by passing on the truth of the facts alleged and adjudicating the question of his disqualification, failed to follow the procedural process outlined in rule 2.160 of the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration.
The Florida Supreme Court in 1995 vacated the sentence remanded the case back to the trial court for resentencing.
The defendant again petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari in 1996, which the court denied the following year.
The trial court sentenced Cave to death a third time in 1997. The defendant filed his third direct appeal with the Florida Supreme Court, which affirmed the decision in 1998.
In 1999, Cave petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. The court denied the petition the same year.
Cave in 2000 filed a 3.851 Motion with the trial court, which was denied on 11/18/02. On 01/21/03, Cave filed an appeal of that decision in the Florida Supreme Court, which was affirmed on 01/27/05.
Cave filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the U.S. District Court, Southern District, on 04/29/05 that was denied on 09/28/09. On 10/27/09, Cave filed a Motion for Certificate of Appealability. The Certificate of Appealability was granted in part and denied in part on 11/02/09.
On 11/12/09, Cave filed a Habeas Appeal with the United States Court of Appeals, which is pending.
DATE DAYS VIOLATION LOCATION
-------- ---- ---------------------------- -------------------
POSS OF UNAUTH BEV.
03/03/84 60 DISORDERLY CONDUCT NEW RIVER
04/04/84 60 DISRESP.TO OFFICIALS NEW RIVER
12/12/84 0 FIGHTING FSP
06/29/85 0 POSS OF NEGOTIABLES FSP
08/30/85 0 DISOBEYING ORDER FSP
08/17/92 0 DISRESP.TO OFFICIALS FSP
08/17/92 0 DISORDERLY CONDUCT FSP
07/28/94 0 FIGHTING UNION C. I.
03/01/01 0 DISRESP.TO OFFICIALS UNION C. I.
04/11/01 – tb
04/11/01 – approved – whs
11/08/10 – updated – jjk