Hall v. State

Decision Date01 February 2013
Docket NumberNo. SC10–182.,SC10–182.
Citation107 So.3d 262
PartiesEnoch D. HALL, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
CourtFlorida Supreme Court

OPINION TEXT STARTS HERE

James S. Purdy, Public Defender, and James R. Wulchak and Meghan Ann Collins, Assistant Public Defenders, Seventh Judicial Circuit, Daytona Beach, FL, for Appellant.

Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, FL, and Kenneth Sloan Nunnelley, Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, FL, for Appellee.

PER CURIAM.

This case is before the Court on appeal from a judgment of conviction of first-degree murder and a sentence of death. We have jurisdiction. Seeart. V, § 3(b)(1), Fla. Const. For the reasons that follow, we affirm Hall's conviction and sentence.

OVERVIEW

Enoch D. Hall was convicted of the first-degree murder of Officer Donna Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald's body was found in the paint room at Tomoka Correctional Institute (TCI). She had been stabbed, strangled by ligature, and suffered blunt force trauma to her head. Hall, an inmate at TCI, was apprehended by TCI personnel. Hall continued to repeat “I freaked out. I snapped. I killed her.” Hall was indicted by a grand jury for the murder. A jury returned a verdict of guilty of first-degree murder and recommended that Hall be sentenced to death by a unanimous vote. This is Hall's direct appeal.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On July 10, 2008, Enoch Hall was indicted by the grand jury for the murder of Florida Department of Corrections Officer Donna Fitzgerald. Hall was an inmate at TCI, who worked as a welder in the Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises, Inc. (PRIDE) compound,1 where inmates work refurbishing vehicles. Sergeant Suzanne Webster was working as the TCI control room supervisor, where she was responsible for getting a count from all areas of the prison as to the number of inmates in each area. When Webster had not heard from Fitzgerald, who was working in the PRIDE compound that night, Webster radioed Officer Chad Weber, who went to the PRIDE facility with Sergeant Bruce MacNeil to search for Fitzgerald. Weber saw Hall run through an open door on the other end of one of the PRIDE buildings and Weber and MacNeil pursued Hall. Weber caught up to Hall, who repeatedly stated “I freaked out. I snapped. I killed her.” Hall responded to Weber's commands and placed his hands on the wall and was handcuffed. Weber took possession of the PRIDE keys that Hall had in his hands. Officer Chad Birch shouted from inside the building, “Officer down!” and Hall remained outside with other officers while Captain Shannon Wiggins and Officers Weber and MacNeil entered the building and located Fitzgerald's body. Fitzgerald's body was found lying face down on top of a cart in the paint room. The upper part of her body was wrapped in gray wool blankets, and the bottom half of her body came over the back of the cart, with her pants and underwear pulled down to her knees. Inside a bucket of water that was on the floor next to Fitzgerald's legs was Hall's bloody T-shirt. Hall was escorted to the medical facility (MTC) of the prison by Officers Brian Dickerson and Gary Schweit. Several officers took turns watching Hall while he sat in the MTC. Hall was later escorted to a conference room to talk with investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and then to a cell. Hall gave three statements to FDLE agents throughout the night regarding the events of the murder.

Guilt Phase

A jury trial commenced on October 12, 2009. Daniel Radcliffe, a crime scene investigator for FDLE, testified that he found two packets of pills in a file cabinet in the paint room of PRIDE where the body was discovered. The pill packets had an inmate's name on them, Franklin Prince, and were labeled Ibuprofen 800 milligrams and Carbamazepine, a generic equivalent of Tegretol, 200 milligrams, an anti-seizure medication. Hall's white T-shirt was found in a bucket of water with other shirts in the paint room, and Hall's pants were found in a pile of clothes, also in the paint room. Months later, Hall's blue prison shirt was found lodged on top of a paint booth. Granules of Speedy Dry, an oil absorbent material, were found on the ground in front of the welding shed and in a coffee can next to the shed. The granules tested positive for blood and DNA testing confirmed that it was Fitzgerald's. A broom found nearby had Fitzgerald's blood on the broom head. Blood was found on the walls of the welding shed. Also found in the welding shed was a cap, which had Fitzgerald's blood on it. Hall's clothes, including his underwear, tested positive for Fitzgerald's blood. A sexual assault analysis was performed on Fitzgerald's body. Jillian White, a crime lab analyst with the FDLE, testified that there was no evidence of semen on the body. Wiggins testified that he was a commander of the TCI rapid response team and as part of his job would search prisons for weapons. Wiggins testified that shanks made in the PRIDE facility differed from the usual ones made by inmates in that they had a machined edge made by a grinder. Wiggins testified that the shank recovered from the wall of the paint room which appeared to be the murder weapon had a meticulously sharpened point like those made from a tool grinder in the PRIDE facility.

The State played the three confessions Hall made on the night of the murder. In the first statement, given to FDLE agents and TCI personnel, Hall admitted to killing Fitzgerald and stated that he had taken four pills that Frank Prince, another inmate working in PRIDE, had given to him. Later that day, when his shift ended, Hall went looking for more pills, but was unable to find any and became angry. Officer Fitzgerald came in and laughed and called Hall by his nickname, “Possum, come on, get out of there.” Hall told her to get out. Fitzgerald grabbed Hall's arm and he “freaked out” and began to stab her with a sharp piece of metal that he found on the floor of the room. Hall then took off his bloody shirt, put it in a bucket of water, and put on one of Prince's shirts. He picked up the PRIDE keys and continued to look for pills. Hall stated that he did not remember pulling Fitzgerald's pants down. Hall said that he did not want to have sex with Fitzgerald. Hall repeatedly stated that he just wanted to get high.

The second statement, given at about 1:30 a.m., was taken by Agent Stephen Miller of the FDLE upon Hall's request in the cell in which Hall had been placed. During this interview, Hall admitted that he killed Fitzgerald somewhere other than the room where she was found. Fitzgerald found Hall searching for pills in the office. He ran out past her, she chased him to the welding shed, and he stabbed her there. Hall carried her to the office and placed her on the cart. Hall said he threw some dirt on the blood outside the welding shed. Hall told Miller that he hid the knife in a cinderblock wall near the welding shed. Hall also told Miller he did not think he was “going to make it to tomorrow.” Miller told Hall that he would transport him to the branch jail in a little while.

The third statement was given at about 3:30 a.m. and was made only to the FDLE agents. In this third statement, Hall agreed that in his first statement he said he killed Fitzgerald inside the PRIDE building, but in his second statement he admitted to killing her in the welding area outside the PRIDE building. Hall admitted that he stayed behind in the PRIDE compound to look for drugs. While looking for drugs, Hall found the shank by the sink in Prince's office and took it with him. When he realized Fitzgerald was looking for him, Hall hid inside the welding shed. Fitzgerald opened the shed door and came in and tried to grab him. He tried to run past her, but she would not let go, so he stabbed her. Hall did not recall how many times he stabbed her, but said he stabbed her enough times “just to get by.” Fitzgerald fell to the ground inside the shed; he did not know whether or not she was alive. He hid the shank in the wall and spread some Speedy Dry on the ground in the welding area to soak up the blood. Hall wrapped her up in a towel and blankets and carried her back to the paint room/office. Hall placed her on a cart. He then continued to look for pills, but was not able to find any. Hall went back to the room where Fitzgerald was and pulled down her pants. He did not sexually assault her. Hall said he put his shirt in a bucket of water, put on Prince's shirt, but kept on his own pants. Corrections officers entered the PRIDE facility and he attempted to run from them.

Dr. Predrag Bulic, the Volusia County associate medical examiner, testified for the State about the injuries Fitzgerald sustained based on her autopsy results. He testified that Fitzgerald's body bore evidence of blunt force injuries, mostly on her face, consistent with those caused by punches from a hand. Fitzgerald's hands and arms had sustained defensive wounds caused by a sharp instrument consistent with a knife. Fifteen additional stab wounds were inflicted upon Fitzgerald, including on her stomach, back, and chest. Dr. Bulic also testified that a gold chain necklace on Fitzgerald's body had been pulled tightly around her mouth and neck from behind in a manner so as to exert sufficient force to leave a postmortem mark consistent with ligation. On October 23, 2009, Hall was convicted of first-degree murder.

Penalty Phase

The penalty phase commenced on October 27, 2009. The defense renewed its previously argued motion to preclude the State from offering evidence of the length of Hall's sentences he was serving when he killed Fitzgerald. The trial court denied the motion and the State offered evidence that Hall was serving two consecutive life sentences when he murdered Fitzgerald.

The State also offered evidence that Hall had committed prior violent felonies, introducing testimony from two women whom Hall had raped. The defense objected to the...

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