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.
MILLER, Lionel (W/M)
9th Judicial Circuit, Orange County Case # 06-CF-5222
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Rand Wallis
Attorney, Trial: Larry B. Henderson – Public Defender’s Office
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Christopher S. Quarles – Public Defender’s Office
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Christopher S. Quarles – Public Defender’s Office
Date of Offense: 04/16/06
Date of Sentence: 02/01/08
Circumstances of Offense:
On 04/14/06, Lionel Michael Miller was expecting his employment check in the mail. He asked his roommate to help him intercept the check from the mailman, because it had been mailed to his prior address. While driving through Delaney Park in Orlando, he noticed Jerry Smith standing in her front yard. Miller stopped to ask her if the mailman had already delivered the mail. They talked for approximately 30 minutes. Miller noticed in their conversation that Smith had memory lapses, because she would repeat the same story. The medical examiner confirmed that she had Alzheimer’s dementia. Miller also noticed Smith’s jewelry, and later noted to his roommate that she would be easy to steal from, because of her lapses in memory. He asked his roommate several times to help him rob Smith, but the roommate refused.
On 04/16/10, the evening of Easter Sunday, Miller walked to Smith’s house carrying a filet knife. Prior to his arrival, he had smoked crack cocaine. Smith was sitting on her porch when Miller arrived. They went inside her house where Smith offered him a glass of water. His prints were later identified on the glass. Smith took off a jacket that she had been wearing and placed it on a chair in the front room. While talking with Miller in the living room, she became concerned and opened the blinds on her front window. Miller threw her on the couch and attempted to steal her jewelry. Smith screamed and resisted, but Miller covered her mouth with his hand. At this time, a neighbor, Larry Haydon, was passing by Smith’s house while walking his dog. He saw a man fighting with Smith, and heard her tell Miller to leave her alone. Haydon moved closer to the house, but Miller shouted that there was not a problem. Haydon ignored Miller, opened the front door, and entered the house. Miller then stabbed Haydon below the rib cage. While this was happening, Smith was able to escape to the backyard but Miller followed her. Smith began to scream, and Miller ordered her to be quiet so the neighbors outside would not hear her. She continued to scream, and he stabbed her three times. Smith fell, but got up and ran to her front yard.
Meanwhile, Miller went back into Smith’s house where he used Smith’s jacket on the chair as a bandage. He escaped Smith’s house through the back door and disposed of the knife in the bushes of a house nearby. The knife was found later with Miller’s DNA on it. Miller was seen in Delany Park, which was one block from Smith’s home, after he escaped.
A neighbor watched Haydon run to the house beside Smith’s. Smith screamed to the neighbor for help because she had been robbed. Both Haydon and Smith waited at another neighbor’s house for the emergency services to arrive. Haydon survived being stabbed, but Smith died in surgery.
That evening, Miller showed up at an acquaintance’s house, which was not far from Smith’s home. The acquaintance was asleep. So, Miller waited on the back patio. He used the arm of Smith’s jacket to create a bandage for his wound. At 8:30 p.m., the acquaintance discovered Miller and allowed him to call his roommate for a ride home. The acquaintance gave him gas money and bandages. Miller got rid of the jacket in the bushes by the house, but it was found later as further evidence against Miller.
Miller informed his roommate about the stabbing while the roommate drove him home. He feared that Haydon and Smith had died. The acquaintance read a description of Miller in the newspaper on 04/18/06 and called a crime hotline to inform them that Miller was a potential suspect. Miller was arrested the next day and taken to the Orlando Police Station where he confessed to stabbing Smith and Haydon.
05/16/06 Indicted as follows:
Count I: First-degree murder
Count II: Burglary
Count III: Attempted first-degree murder
Count IV: Attempted robbery with a deadly weapon
11/20/07 Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment
11/27/07 Jury recommended death by a vote of 11-1
02/01/08 Sentenced as follows:
Count I: First-degree murder – Death
Count II: Burglary – Life
Count III: Attempted first-degree murder – 30 years (with 1 year and 289 days time served)
Count IV: Attempted robbery with a deadly weapon – 30 years (with 1 year and 289 days time served)
02/07/08 Sentence amended:
Count IV: Attempted robbery with a deadly weapon – 15 years (with 1 year and 289 days time served)
Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal
42 So.3d 204
02/26/08 Appeal filed
11/02/09 Oral Arguments held
06/03/10 FSC affirmed convictions and sentences
06/18/10 Motion for Rehearing filed
08/09/10 Motion denied
08/25/10 Mandate issued
United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari
10/28/10 Petition filed
01/10/11 Petition denied
On 02/26/08, Miller filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court citing the following issues: (1) Double jeopardy; (2) Cold, calculated premeditation aggravator; (3) Death penalty is disproportionate; (4) Ring v. Arizona; and (5) Sufficiency of evidence. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed Miller’s convictions and sentences on 06/03/10. A motion for rehearing was filed on 06/18/10 and was denied on 08/09/10. A mandate was issued on 08/25/10.
Miller filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on 11/28/10. This petition was denied on 01/10/11.
Report Date: 07/12/10 EMJ
Approved: 07/12/10 RM
Updated: 01/13/11 EMJ