[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----FLORIDA
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Jul 14 16:55:10 CDT 2005
Gill pleads guilty to murder
A Florida State Prison inmate who asked 1 judge for the death penalty
after murdering a woman has asked another judge for the same fate.
Ricardo Gill asked Judge Robert Cates to give him the death penalty after
pleading guilty to strangling his cellmate at the Reception and Medical
Center (RMC) in Lake Butler in 2001. "You will give me a license to kill
if you give me another life sentence," said Gill in a Union County
courtroom on July 8. "I am 100 % sure, this time, it will not be an inmate
that is killed."
Gill plead guilty to strangling his cell mate just days after being
sentenced to life in prison by Judge Stan Morris. Gill had plead guilty to
the beating and stabbing death of Beverly Moore in 1999. While Gill asked
Morris to sentence him to the death penalty, Morris refused citing Gill's
history of mental health issues in his decision.
His court records indicate he was admitted to a mental health institution
in Miami during his childhood. He also spent 2 years in a juvenile
detention facility before he turned 16. He was sent to jail once again at
17 and spent 13 years behind bars.
After being out for just 11 months, Gill killed Moore and attempted to
kill a Gilchrist County woman as well. Gloria Feliciano was stabbed
multiple times with a butcher knife in the back. Gill was sentenced to 30
years in prison in that case earlier this year.
Gill had originally been scheduled for a pretrial conference when he
informed Cates he wished to change his plea. Cates questioned Gill at
length as to his decision. "Do you fully understand the consequences of
your decision?" Cates asked Gill. "I do," answered Gill.
While Gill had been assigned 2 attorneys to represent him, he chose to
represent himself. His standby council attempted several times to
interject on his behalf. Each time, Gill asked the judge that all
statements by council be stricken from the record.
After the plea, there was some question as to whether or not the
sentencing phase of the trial could proceed without a jury. Gill had
waived his right to be sentenced by a jury, but his standby council
questioned whether that was possible. After a short recess, lead
prosecutor Geoffery Fleck presented several cases to Cates where
defendants facing the death penalty had waived to right to be sentenced by
Cates then asked Gill if he was ready to proceed to sentencing. "I'm
prepared to proceed today," said Gill. Noting the objections by Gill's
standby council, Cates decided the sentencing phase of the trial would
begin at 1:30 p.m. that afternoon.
In his arguments for the death penalty, Fleck presented evidence that
showed the crime met all 5 criteria for the sentence. "We understand that
this penalty is reserved for crimes out of the ordinary," said Fleck.
One piece of evidence Fleck presented was a note found in the cell where
Gill strangled Orlando Rosello. The writing, authenticated by Gill, told
of his plan. It explained how Gill went about wrapping a bed sheet around
Rosello's neck then hitting him in the head several times. It stated that
Gill left the sheet around Rosello's neck for several hours to ensure his
In an unusual move by the prosecution, Fleck presented mitigating
circumstances of the crime as well. This process is normally done by the
defense team. It was in response to Gill presenting no defense on his
Fleck presented the court with a number of mental health reports and
psychiatric evaluations. "They all say something about Mr. Gill's mental
health and state of mind," said Fleck.
According to Fleck, one of the reports, authored by Dr. Allen Waldron,
describes a clump of abnormal blood vessels in Gill's brain. Waldron's
conclusions were that Gill suffered with this condition his entire life.
"According to this report, he has no more control over his aggression than
an animal," said Fleck.
Fleck ended his presentation by saying that Gill's behavior presents the
best argument for the death sentence. "We are left with no choice but to
protect ourselves," said Fleck.
While Gill presented no arguments against the charges, he did read a
prepared statement to the judge. "Your Honor, this case can end with the
imposition of the death penalty today. I understand the death penalty
cannot be given on a threat," said Gill. "Please make the right decision
and don't be the fault of another loss of life."
While Gill had requested to be sentenced immediately, Cates said he would
issue a ruling in the case within 15 to 30 days. Cates made no statements
as to which way he might be leaning on ruling on the case.
Debbie Buchanan, a spokesperson with the Florida Department of
Corrections, said that Gill would be handled like any other inmate that
makes threats toward corrections officers or public officials. "We take
precautions to ensure the safety of our officers," said Buchanan. "We will
use these same precautions with Gill."
(source: Bradford County Telegraph)
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