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.
HOJAN, GERHARD (W/M)
Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County Case # 02-004187
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Paul Backman
Attorney, Trial: John F. Cotrone – Special Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: John George – Special Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: William Hennis – CCRC-S
Date of Offense: 03/11/02
Date of Sentence: 08/02/05
Circumstances of Offense:
Gerhard Hojan was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of Christina De La Rosa and Willy Absolu.
On March 11, 2002, at approximately 4:00 a.m., Gerhard Hojan and Jimmy Mickel entered the Waffle House restaurant in Davie, Florida. Barbara Nunn, Christina De La Rosa, and Willy Absolu were working at the Waffle House that morning. The employees were acquainted with Mickel and Hojan because Mickel was a former employee of the Waffle House and the two had eaten at the restaurant several times before. Nunn also knew Hojan and Mickel because she had previously visited a night club where the two worked.
After eating breakfast, Mickel left the restaurant and returned with a bolt-cutter. Mickel used the bolt-cutter to cut the padlocks on the restaurant’s cash safes, while Hojan produced a handgun and ordered the employees to the kitchen. He then ordered them into the freezer and shut them inside. Hojan returned to the freezer a total of three times. First, he told the employees to give him their cell phones. The second time he ordered them to give him their money. He returned one last time and ordered the victims to turn around and kneel on the floor. He shot Absolu and De La Rosa twice each, and he shot Nunn once in the back of the head. Hojan left all three victims for dead.
Nunn regained consciousness, went to a nearby gas station, and called 911. Law enforcement and medical personnel arrived at the gas station. Prior to being taken to the hospital, Nunn gave the law enforcement officers a taped statement in which she identified Mickel and Hojan as the shooters. Hojan was arrested later that morning. He confessed to the murders during an interview with detectives from the Davie Police Department.
The autopsy revealed that De La Rosa sustained two gunshot wounds, one which severed her spinal cord, and one which severed her carotid artery. Either wound would have been fatal. Absolu also sustained two gunshot wounds, one non-fatal shot to his arm and one fatal shot to his head.
Jimmy Mickel was convicted of three counts of armed kidnapping and two counts of armed robbery. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
04/10/02 Indicted as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder (Absolu)
Count II: First-Degree Murder (De La Rosa)
Count III: Attempted First-Degree Murder (Nunn)
Count IV: Attempted Felony Murder (Nunn)
Count V: Armed Kidnapping
Count VI: Armed Kidnapping
Count VII: Armed Kidnapping
Count VIII: Armed Robbery
Count IX: Armed Robbery
10/17/03 Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment
11/24/03 Jury recommended death by a vote of 9-3 for Counts I and II
08/02/05 Sentenced as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder – Death
Count II: First-Degree Murder – Death
Count III: Attempted First-Degree Murder – Life
Count IV: Attempted Felony Murder – Sentence withheld
Count V: Kidnapping – Life
Count VI: Kidnapping – Life
Count VII: Kidnapping – Life
Count VIII: Armed Robbery – Life
Count IX: Armed Robbery – Life
Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal
3 So. 3d 1204
09/12/05 Appeal filed
02/27/09 Appeal denied
U.S. Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari
07/10/09 Petition filed
11/30/09 Petition denied
State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion
11/23/10 Motion filed.
Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition of Sentence:
Hojan’s direct appeal was pending in the Florida Supreme Court for more than three years.
On 09/12/05, Hojan filed a direct appeal in the Florida Supreme Court citing the following issues: a witness statement was inappropriately admitted as an excited utterance; the trial court improperly treated the defendant’s waiver of his opportunity to present mitigating evidence as a waiver of the opportunity to present post-trial motions; the defendant’s confession should have been suppressed; Florida’s death penalty statute is unconstitutional; and, the trial court failed to consider mitigating evidence. This appeal was denied on 02/27/09.
A Petition for Writ of Certiorari was filed with the United States Supreme Court on 07/10/09. This petition was denied on 11/30/09.
On 11/23/10, Hojan filed a 3.850 Motion in the Circuit Court. This motion is currently pending.
Report Date: 03/04/09 klh
Approved: 03/30/09 klh
Updated: 05/02/11 CAR