[Deathpenalty]death penalty news-----FLA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Sep 3 00:27:14 CDT 2005
Death penalty in Nixon case?
State Attorney Harry Shorstein of Jacksonville has yet to decide whether
to seek the death penalty against a Macclenny man and 3 others for the
murder of a Jacksonville couple buried alive just across the Georgia line
from Baker County. Bruce Nixon Jr., 18, is scheduled to be arraigned
September 7 in Jacksonville.
A Jacksonville grand jury indicted him August 18 along with former
Macclenny resident Alan Wade, 19, Michael Jackson, 23, and Tiffany Cole,
23, both of South Carolina.
Nixon is being held in Duval County; the other 3 are in South Carolina
A spokeswoman for Mr. Shorstein said as of August 30 he hadnt decided on
the death penalty. Prosecutors have 45 days after a defendant is arraigned
to make the call.
The 4 defendants are accused of kidnapping, robbing and killing James and
Carol Sumner, both 61, who were reported missing from their Jacksonville
home July 10.
Their car was found abandoned in Sanderson a couple of days later, but a
search by Jacksonville and Baker County sheriffs deputies failed to find
Soon afterward, Mr. Wade, Mr. Jackson, and Ms. Cole were arrested in
Charleston, S.C. after they were caught using the Sumners ATM card.
The 3 reportedly fingered Mr. Nixon, who was arrested July 15 for murder,
kidnapping and robbery.
After confessing to Jacksonville police, he led JSO homicide investigator
Dennis Sullivan, Baker County Sheriff Joey Dobson and Chief Chuck Brannan
to the couples bodies, which were buried near a hunting camp off Stokes
Road in Georgia, a few miles north of Baker County.
Mr. Nixon said he and his accomplices had dug the graves a couple of days
before they kidnapped the Sumners. The plan was to scare them into giving
up the PIN to their ATM card.
Investigators said the couple, both in poor health, were forced into the
trunk of their car at gunpoint, driven to Charlton County and buried
alive. Shorstein said that under Florida law, the heinous nature of the
crime and the apparent "cold, calculated premeditation" with which it was
conducted allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
He also said Florida law provides for mitigating factors against the death
penalty, including a suspects age.
He noted 2 of the defendants - Mr. Nixon and Mr. Wade - are very young, 18
and 19, respectively. The other 2 are 23.
(source: Baker County Press)
More information about the DeathPenalty