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 upon for statistical or legal purposes.
GUDINAS, Thomas L. (W/M)
Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange County Case # 94-7132
Venue changed to Collier County (Case# 95-850)
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Belvin Perry, Jr.
Attorney, Trial: Michael Irwin & Robert LeBlanc – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Christopher Quarles – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Eric Pinkard & David Gemmer – CCRC-M
Date of Offense: 05/24/94
Date of Sentence: 06/16/95
Circumstances of Offense:
Thomas Gudinas and three of his roommates arrived at an Orlando bar, Barbarella’s, between approximately 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. on 05/23/94. Prior to arriving at the bar, the group drank beer and smoked marijuana at their apartment and in the car on the way to the bar. While drinking throughout the night, the group periodically returned to the car to smoke marijuana. When the bar closed at 3:00 a.m., Gudinas could not be located. One of Gudinas’ roommates testified that he last saw Gudinas at approximately 1:00 a.m.
Rachelle Smith and her fiancé arrived at Barbarella’s between 11:00 and 11:30 p.m. on 05/23/94. When they left the bar at approximately 2:00 a.m., Smith went to the wrong parking lot, where she saw a man later identified as Gudinas, watching her while crouched behind another car. Realizing she was in the wrong parking lot, Smith walked to the correct parking lot and found her car. Smith sensed she was being followed, so she immediately entered the car and locked the doors. The same man who was watching Smith earlier tried to open her passenger door, then tried to smash the driver’s side window, screaming “I want to f___ you.” Smith blew her car horn and the man left. Smith later identified Gudinas in a police photo lineup as the man who tried to attack her.
Michelle McGrath was last seen at Barbarella’s at approximately 2:45 a.m. She left her car in the same parking lot where Smith initially saw Gudinas. McGrath’s body was discovered on 05/24/94 in an alley next to Pace School by an employee of the school. Her time of death was estimated to have been between 3:00 and 5:00 a.m. McGrath’s body was naked, except for a bra which was pushed up above her breasts. Her body had several blunt force traumas to the head and evidence of sexual assault. The body also had trauma to the cervix and rectum, which was determined to have resulted from the insertion of foreign objects into her body. Semen was found inside McGrath’s vagina and on her thigh.
Prior to finding McGrath’s body in the alley beside Pace School, Jane Brand, an employee of the Pace School, came upon a man inside the gates of the school. After being told to leave the school grounds, the man jumped the fence and ended up in the alley. Brand looked in the alley and found McGrath’s body. Brand later identified the man as Gudinas.
All of Gudinas’ roommates testified that he was not at their apartment when they returned from Barbarella’s. They also testified that Gudinas was later seen with blood on his underwear and scratches on his knuckles. Gudinas attributed his wounds to a fight with two black men who tried to rob him. Two roommates further testified that when asked if McGrath was a “good f___,” Gudinas replied, “I killed her then I f___ed her.”
As a juvenile, Gudinas had several felony convictions in the State of Massachusetts in the early 1990’s: Burglary of an Automobile, Assault, Theft, Assault with Intent to Rape, Indecent Assault and Battery, Assault and Battery.
07/15/94 Indicted as follows in Orange County:
Count I Attempted Burglary with an Assault
Count II Attempted Sexual Battery
Count III Sexual Battery
Count IV Sexual Battery
Count V First-Degree Murder
10/07/94 Venue changed from Orange County to Collier County
05/04/95 Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment
05/10/95 Jury recommended death by a vote of 10-2
06/16/95 Sentenced as follows:
Count I Attempted Burglary with an Assault – 30 Years
Count II Attempted Sexual Battery – 30 Years
Count III Sexual Battery – Life Imprisonment
Count IV Sexual Battery – Life Imprisonment
Count V First-Degree Murder – Death
Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal
693 So.2d 953
07/17/95 Appeal filed
04/10/97 FSC affirmed convictions and sentences
05/20/97 Rehearing denied
06/19/97 Mandate issued
U.S. Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari
522 U.S. 936
08/18/97 Petition filed
10/20/97 USSC denied Petition
Circuit Court, Ninth Circuit – 3.850 Motion
06/05/98 Motion filed
07/19/99 Motion amended
09/30/99 Motion amended
03/20/00 Circuit Court denied Motion
Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Motion Appeal
816 So.2d 1095
05/01/00 Appeal filed
03/28/02 FSC affirmed denial of 3.850 Motion
05/07/02 Rehearing denied
06/06/02 Mandate issued
Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
816 So.2d 1095
12/01/00 Petition filed
03/28/02 FSC denied Petition
05/07/02 Rehearing denied
06/06/02 Mandate issued
Circuit Court, Ninth Circuit – 3.851 Motion
10/14/02 Motion filed
01/16/03 Circuit Court denied Motion
U.S. District Court, Middle District – Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
10/15/02 Petition filed
01/10/05 Petition amended
09/30/10 Petition denied
Florida Supreme Court – 3.851 Motion Appeal
879 So.2d 616
03/05/03 Appeal filed
05/13/04 FSC affirmed denial of 3.851 Motion
07/29/04 Rehearing denied
08/30/04 Mandate issued
United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit – Habeas Appeal
10/19/10 Appeal filed
Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition of Sentence:
The case progression appears to be within acceptable time parameters.
Gudinas filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 07/17/95, citing twelve errors, many of which focused on the admission of evidence at trial. On 04/10/97, the FSC affirmed the convictions and sentences.
Gudinas filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on 08/18/97 that was denied on 10/20/97.
Gudinas filed a 3.850 Motion with the Circuit Court on 06/05/98 that was amended on 07/19/99 and 09/30/99. On 03/20/00, the Circuit Court denied the Motion.
Gudinas filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 05/01/00, citing allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel. On 03/28/02, the FSC affirmed the denial of the 3.850 Motion.
Gudinas filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the Florida Supreme Court on 12/01/00, citing allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel. On 03/28/02, the FSC denied the Petition.
Gudinas filed a 3.851 Motion with the Circuit Court on 10/14/02 that was denied on 01/16/03.
Gudinas filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the U.S. District Court, Middle District, on 10/15/02 and amended it on 01/10/05. The Petition was denied on 09/30/10.
Gudinas filed a 3.851 Motion Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 03/05/03, raising Ring claims. The FSC affirmed the denial of the 3.850 Motion on 05/13/04.
Gudinas filed a Habeas Petition Appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals on 10/19/10. That appeal is pending.
THE FOLLOWING ENTRIES REFLECT DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS AGAINST THE INMATE FOR VIOLATION OF THE RULE CITED AND INDICATE THE GAIN TIME DAYS LOST.
DATE DAYS VIOLATION LOCATION
01/05/98 0 FIGHTING UNION C. I.
01/28/98 0 POSS OF CONTRABAND UNION C. I.
05/01/99 180 UNAUTH USE OF DRUGS UNION C. I.
05/18/99 90 LYING TO STAFF UNION C. I.
Report Date: 12/30/03 JFL
Approved: 01/26/04 WS
Updated: 11/29/10 JJK