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.



DC #    056979

DOB:   10/11/46 


Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pinellas County, Case #92-17438

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Susan F. Schaeffer

Trial Attorney: Frederic S. Zinober, Esq. & Robert A. Santa Lucia, Esq.

Attorney, Direct Appeal: Paul Helm – Assistant Public Defender

Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Baya Harrison – CCRC


Date of Offense:           06/01/89 

Date of Sentence:         11/04/94         


Circumstances of Offense:


Oba Chandler was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of Joan Rogers and her two daughters, Michelle and Christe, on 06/01/89.


Joan Rogers and her daughters were vacationing in Tampa from Ohio and checked into their hotel on 06/01/89.  Housekeeping staff noticed that their room remained uninhabited for over week, at which point, they contacted the manager, who then contacted police.  Upon investigation, the Rogers’ car was found abandoned beside a boat ramp off the Courtney Campbell Causeway.  Inside the car they found a brochure with directions on it, parts of which were written in Oba Chandler’s handwriting.  Chandler’s fingerprints were also lifted from the brochure.


The bodies of all three women were found tied and weighted in Tampa Bay on 06/04/89.  Each woman was naked from the waist down, arms and legs bound, and a cinder block was tied by a rope around their necks.  Medical examiners determined the cause of death of all three women to be asphyxiation from the ropes around their necks, or from drowning.


Investigation revealed similarities between the Rogers’ murders and the rape of a woman in a nearby area.  From information given by Judy Blair, the victim of the rape, a composite drawing was made of the suspect and printed in the local paper, along with the stories of the two crimes.  After seeing the article, Chandler fled the area and stayed with relatives.  He admitted to them that the police were searching for him in connection with the rape/murder investigation.   


At trial, Judy Blair testified that when she first met Chandler he offered to take her on a sunset cruise on his boat.  Not fearing for her safety in the least, Blair accompanied Chandler on a ride through Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.  While at sea, Chandler raped Blair.  Blair testified that she believed he would have killed her had it not been for the fact that a friend was waiting for her back at the dock.  The State used this incident to hypothesize how Chandler lured the Rogers family with the offer of a cruise on his boat before he killed them.  Chandler was not arrested or charged with the murders until September 1992.


Prior Incarceration History in the State of Florida:



Offense Date


Sentence Date


Case #

Sentence Length






10Y 0M 0D






10Y 0M 0D






15Y 0M 0D



Trial Summary:


11/10/92          Defendant indicted on:

                                    Count I:            First-Degree Murder (Joan Rogers)

                                    Count II:           First-Degree Murder (Michelle Rogers)

                                    Count III:         First-Degree Murder (Christe Rogers)

11/16/92          Defendant entered a plea of not guilty.

09/29/94          The jury found the defendant guilty on all counts.

09/30/94          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 12 to 0 majority, voted for the

death penalty on all three convictions.

11/04/94          The defendant was sentenced as followed:

                                    Count I:            First-Degree Murder (Joan Rogers) - Death

                                    Count II:           First-Degree Murder (Michelle Rogers) - Death

                                    Count III:         First-Degree Murder (Christe Rogers) - Death


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC #84,812

702 So. 2d 186


12/05/94          Appeal filed.

10/16/97          FSC affirmed the convictions and sentences of death.

12/11/97          Rehearing denied.

01/14/98          Mandate issued.


U.S. Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC #97-7993

523 U.S. 1083


02/20/98          Petition filed.

04/20/98          Petition denied.


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC #92-17438


06/22/98          Motion filed.

06/27/01          Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC #SC01-1468

848 So. 2d 1031


07/05/01          Appeal filed.

04/17/03          Denial affirmed.

06/24/03          Rehearing denied.

07/24/03          Mandate issued.


U.S. District Court, Middle District – Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

USDC #03-1347


06/27/03          Petition filed.

02/08/06          USDC denied petition


U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit – Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Appeal

USCA# 06-11190

471 F. 3d 1360


02/13/06          Appeal filed.

12/18/06          USCA affirmed the denial of the petition.

01/19/07          Mandate issued.


U.S. Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC# 06-10141

127 S.Ct. 2269


03/15/07          Petition filed.

05/14/07          Petition denied.



Factors Contributing to the Delay in the Imposition of the Sentence:


Chandler’s Direct Appeal and 3.850 Motion each took approximately three years to complete.  During the progression of the 3.850 Motion, CCRC-M, Chandler’s defense counsel, asked to be removed from the case citing a heavy caseload.  After that, Baya Harrison, Esq. took over Chandler’s defense representation on 08/27/99, was granted an extension in filing Chandler’s amended 3.850 Motion on 11/01/99 and, in turn, filed the amended 3.850 Motion on 04/30/00. 


Case Information:


Chandler filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 12/05/94.  In that appeal, he argued that admitting evidence regarding the sexual battery of Judy Blair unfairly prejudiced his case.  Chandler also claimed that the trial court erred in repeatedly requiring him to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, and in admitting statements made by his daughter Kristal Mays.  Regarding the penalty phase, Chandler contended that the court erred in accepting his waiver of the presentation of mitigating evidence, and in the application of aggravating and mitigating circumstances.  The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the convictions and sentences of death on 10/16/97.


Chandler then filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, which was denied on 04/20/98.


Next, Chandler filed a 3.850 Motion in the State Circuit Court, which was denied on 06/27/01.  He promptly filed an appeal of that decision in the Florida Supreme Court on 07/05/01, which was affirmed on 04/17/03.  Chandler’s Motion for Rehearing was denied on 6/24/03.


On 06/27/03, Chandler filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the U.S. District Court that was denied on 02/08/06. 


Chandler filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the U.S. Court of Appeals on 02/13/06, and on 12/20/06, the USCA affirmed the denial of the petition.  A Mandate was issued on 01/19/07.     


Chandler filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court on 03/15/07 that was denied on 05/14/07.


Institutional Adjustment: 



DATE           DAYS             VIOLATION                LOCATION      

--------            ----         ----------------------------      -------------------

12/15/01          0           DISOBEYING ORDER     UNION C. I.        




01/09/02          ew

01/11/02          approved         ws

08/25/09          updated           kkr