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.
Sanchez-Velasco, Rigoberto (H/M)
Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Miami-Dade County, Case #86-137102
Judge, Trial: The Honorable Allen Kornblum
Judge, 3.850 Motion: The Honorable Victoria Platzer
Attorney, Trial: Joel Hirschhorn
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Barbara Levenson
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Pro se
Date of Offense: 12/13/86
Date of Sentence: 09/23/88
Circumstance of Offense:
The defendant, Rigoberto Sanchez-Velasco, raped and murdered the 11-year-old female victim by strangling her.
At the time of the offense, Sanchez-Velasco was residing with the victim and her mother in Hialeah, Florida. On the evening of December 12, 1986, the victim’s mother left for work, leaving Sanchez-Velasco to stay with the victim.
By the defendant’s own admission, the murder occurred as follows: During a conversation between Sanchez-Velasco and the victim, the victim asked him if he still loved a former girlfriend. He responded by grabbing her around the neck with both hands. She fell on the bed, and he pulled her T-shirt up around her neck, twisting it like a tourniquet. She fell to the floor, so he stood on the bed and used the twisted T-shirt to lift her back onto it. She did not make any noise, and he believed she was dead. He removed her clothes, then his own, and he raped her. He took the victim’s jewelry and left the residence.
Sanchez-Velasco was arrested two days later at a motel on Miami Beach. The evidence showed that in addition to the shock of being attacked by a trusted adult, the victim suffered the panic of not being able to breathe. It also indicated that the injury was likely to cause extreme pain before she died.
Current Prison Sentence History:
3rd Degree Murder
3rd Degree Murder
On April 19, 1995, Sanchez-Velasco stabbed and killed two inmates while incarcerated at Union Correctional Institution. He was convicted on two counts of third-degree murder and received a sentence of 15 years imprisonment for each conviction.
12/14/86 Sanchez-Velasco as arrested.
01/13/87 Sanchez-Velasco was indicted on the following:
Count I: First-Degree Murder
Count II: Sexual Battery
Count III: Robbery
Count IV: Burglary
08/18/88 The jury found Sanchez-Velasco guilty on Counts I, II and III.
The defendant was acquitted of Count IV.
08/19/88 Upon advisory sentencing, the trial jury, by a majority vote of 8-4, that the defendant be sentenced to death
09/23/88 Sanchez-Velasco was sentenced as follows:
Count I: Death
Count II: Life
Count III: 5 years
570 So.2d 908 (Fla. 1990)
09/30/88 Appeal filed.
10/11/90 FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence.
12/26/90 Motion for rehearing denied.
01/25/91 Mandate issued.
United States Supreme Court--Petition for Writ of Certiorari
500 U.S. 929 (1991)
04/02/91 Petition filed.
05/13/91 USSC denied the petition for Writ of Certiorari.
Circuit Court #86-137102
05/13/93 Motion filed.
10/30/96 Trial court granted the motion to discharge counsel and dismiss the 3.850 Motion.
702 So.2d 224 (Fla. 1997)
12/11/96 Michael Bowen, special appointed post-conviction counsel for Sanchez-Velasco, filed the appeal.
12/04/97 Florida Supreme Court affirmed the discharge of counsel and dismissal of the 3.850 Motion.
01/05/98 Mandate issued.
United States Supreme Court—Petition for Writ of Certiorari
525 U.S. 811; 119 S. Ct. 42; 142 L. Ed. 2d 33
02/02/98 Petition filed.
10/05/98 USSC denied petition.
12/04/98 Petition filed.
06/25/01 USDC granted motion to withdraw petition.
United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit—Habeas Appeal
287 F.3d 1015
07/10/01 Appeal filed.
04/02/02 USCA affirmed the District Court’s motion to dismiss the petition filed without Sanchez-Velasco’s consent.
Florida Supreme Court—Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
09/06/02 Petition filed.
09/18/02 Petition dismissed.
Florida Supreme Court—Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
828 So. 2d 389
09/27/02 Petition filed.
09/30/02 Petition dismissed.
12/03/91 Clemency hearing held (denied).
09/05/02 Death warrant signed by Jeb Bush.
10/02/02 Planned date of execution.
Factors contributing to the delay in execution of sentence:
The defendant’s 3.850 motion was in the trial court for more than three years before a decision was rendered.
Sanchez-Velasco filed his Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 09/30/88. Addressed issues included that the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress the his confession, in allowing jurors who opposed the death penalty to be excused and in denying a motion for a mistrial. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence on 10/11/90. Rehearing was denied on 12/26/90. A mandate was issued on 01/25/91.
Sanchez-Velasco filed his Petition for Writ of Certiorari on 04/02/91 in the United States Supreme Court. The petition was denied on 05/13/91.
Sanchez-Velasco filed a 3.850 Motion with the circuit court on 05/13/93. The court granted Sanchez-Velasco’s motion to discharge counsel and dismiss the 3.850 Motion on 10/30/96.
Michael Bowen filed a 3.850 Appeal on 12/11/96 with the Florida Supreme Court. Bowen was appealing his discharge as Sanchez-Velasco’s special appointed post-conviction and dismissing Sanchez-Velasco’s 3.850 Motion. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s discharge of counsel and dismissal of 3.850 Motion on 12/04/97. Mandate issued 01/05/98.
Sanchez-Velasco filed his Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the United States Supreme Court on 02/02/98. The petition was denied on 10/05/98.
Sanchez-Velasco petitioned the United States District Court, Southern District, for a Writ of Habeas Corpus in 12/04/98. He subsequently filed a pro se motion to withdraw the petition, which his attorneys opposed. After a competency hearing in May 2001, the court ruled he was competent and granted the motion to withdraw the petition. The United States Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s dismissal on 04/02/02.
Sanchez-Velasco filed a Habeas Appeal in the United States Court of Appeals in the 11th Circuit on 07/10/01. The United States Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s motion to dismiss the petition filed without consent.
Sanchez Velasco filed a Petition Requesting this Honorable Court to Respect My Constitutional Rights and Not to Interfere, Intervene or Delay the Legal Process in My Case and Sentence, which was treated as a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus on 09/06/02 with the Florida Supreme Court. The petition was dismissed on 09/18/02 because there were not any other petitions pending with the Florida Supreme Court.
Note: Sanchez Velasco has expressed to various courts that he wishes to forego all future appeals and not contest his death sentence.
Sanchez-Velasco has had 11 psychological evaluations and three competency hearings in state circuit court. He has been determined to be competent at each hearing.
The district court asked Sanchez-Velasco if he understood what would happen if he did not have an appeal pending. Sanchez-Velasco replied: “ Sure my sentence might be carried on sometime whenever the government decided to do so. And really it not a matter of whether my sentence be carried out or not. The matter is that I won’t be able to hurt anybody no more. . . . I haven’t stopped kill people since I been in the DOC department under the DOC supervising. I has killed people repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly, even while being on death row.”
Report date: 05/25/01 TB
Approved: 00/00/00 WS
Updated: 07/12/02 JFL
Updated: 09/25/02 SQ