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 inmateís case and should not be relied upon for statistical or legal purposes.
EAGLIN, Dwight (W/M)
Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Charlotte County Case #03-1525
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable William Blackwell
Attorney, Trial: Douglas R. Withee Ė Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Robert F. Moeller Ė Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: TBA
Date of Offense: 06/11/03
Date of Sentence: 03/31/06
Circumstances of Offense:
Dwight Eaglin was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of Darla Lathrem and Charles Fuston.
In June of 2003, Eaglin was serving a life sentence at Charlotte Correctional Institution. Earlier that year the institution had begun a renovation of the inmatesí dormitories. Dwight Eaglin, Michael Jones, and Stephen Smith were part of a group of inmates assigned to work on the renovation project.
Two inmates, Kenneth Lykins and Jesse Baker, testified that they overheard Eaglin, Jones, and Smith planning an escape. The three inmates constructed an escape ladder and a metal tool that would hook onto the prisonís outer lights, but the tool was destroyed in May of 2003. Eaglin blamed two inmates, Charles Fuston and John Beaston, for destroying the tool.
On June 11, 2003, correctional officer Mary Polisco transported inmates Dwight Eaglin, Stephen Smith, Michael Jones, John Beaston, and Charles Fuston to A-dorm to work on the plumbing. The inmates were left under the supervision of correctional officer Darla Lathrem. At 8:30 p.m. the master roster count was conducted and correctional officer Lathrem accounted for all five inmates.
At approximately 9:30 p.m., an alarm was triggered on the perimeter fence behind A-dorm. Correctional officers observed Eaglin attempting to climb on the fence. Eaglin was sprayed with chemical agents and subdued. Correctional officer Darla Lathremís body was discovered in a mop closet. Her body was in a fetal position and she had injuries to her head area. A sledgehammer was lying next to her body. Inmate Charles Fuston was discovered lying in a cell. He was unconscious, but breathing, and was bleeding from his head. Inmate John Beaston was found in a cell, conscious, with a large head wound. Beaston was the only surviving member of the attacks.
Dr. Imami, the medical examiner, testified that brain and skull injuries caused Lathremís death. The cause of these injuries was blunt force trauma. Dr. Imami testified that she believed the recovered sledgehammer caused the injuries.
Dr. Imami also examined Fustonís body. Imami testified that Fustonís death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head. Imami testified that the trauma was caused by a hammer.
Lathremís DNA was found on the sledgehammer near her body. Both Lathremís and Fustonís DNA were found on the pants Eaglin wore on the day of the murders. Lathremís DNA was also found on one of Eaglinís boots and on one of Smithís shoes.
Stephen Smith was convicted of first-degree murder on 06/23/06 and sentenced to death on 08/18/06. Michael Jones pled guilty to first-degree murder and received a life sentence.
Prior Incarceration History in the State of Florida:
Prison Sentence Length
12/03/03 Indicted as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder (Lathrem)
Count II: First-Degree Murder (Fuston)
02/24/06 Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment
02/27/06 Jury recommended death by a vote of 8-4
03/31/06 Sentenced as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder (Lathrem) Ė Death
Count II: First-Degree Murder (Fuston) Ė Death
Florida Supreme Court Ė Direct Appeal
04/21/06 Appeal filed
06/04/09 Appeal denied
10/08/09 Rehearing denied
10/27/09 Mandate issued
Circuit Court Ė 3.851 Motion
01/05/11††††††††† Motion filed
Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition of Sentence:
Eaglinís direct appeal was pending for over three years.
On 04/21/06, Eaglin filed a direct appeal in the Florida Supreme Court. This appeal was denied on 06/04/09.
On 01/05/11, Eaglin filed a 3.851 motion in the state Circuit Court. That motion is pending.
Report Date: 06/09/09 KLH
Approved: 06/10/09 KLH
Updated: 04/26/11 JJK