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.
GRIFFIN, Michael J. (W/M)
Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pinellas County Case # 95-18753
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Brandt Downey
Attorney, Trial: Bjorn Brunvand – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Kevin Briggs – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Terri Backhus & Celeste Bacchi – CCRC-S
Date of Offense: 10/07/95
Date of Sentence: 07/10/98
Circumstances of Offense:
After graduating from high school, Michael Griffin began working for his father as a service and repair technician at Moore’s Refrigeration. Moore’s dealt with vending companies which needed servicing for vending machines and coolers. One such company was Service America Corporation, where Griffin became familiar with the facility, the employees, and the large amount of cash kept there.
In 1995, Griffin left Moore’s Refrigeration and became addicted to cocaine, selling drugs to earn money to buy more cocaine. Griffin moved in with the man for whom he was selling drugs, Nicolas Kocolis. There he met another addict, Anthony Lopez. Griffin was in financial trouble and decided to steal money from Service America Corporation, which kept large amounts of money collected from their vending machines.
Kocolis, Lopez, and Griffin had planned to steal the money, but then Kocolis decided against the plan. Griffin planned to gain access to Service America’s warehouse through any Service America employee who would recognize him from previous service visits and let him into the warehouse.
On 10/07/95, after one failed attempt, Griffin and Lopez returned to Service America, armed with a 9 mm pistol and a shotgun. They spotted an employee who recognized Griffin and let them in the warehouse. Tom McCallops was accompanied by his wife, Patricia McCallops that evening. Once inside the warehouse, Griffin and Lopez showed their weapons. Lopez forced the McCallops into a cooler while Griffin opened the lockers where the money was kept. Griffin testified at the sentencing phase that while he was opening the money lockers, he heard Lopez shoot the McCallopses with the shotgun. However, other witnesses testified that Griffin told them that he shot the McCallopses with the shotgun after the money was taken, and he also told Lopez to finish the job with the 9 mm.
Autopsies showed that Tom McCallops received a life-threatening shotgun wound to his upper chest and neck and four handgun wounds to his hip, thigh, and head. Patricia McCallops had two handgun wounds, one to the head and one to the chest. Further forensic investigation matched the tire tracks left at the Service America warehouse to the tires on Griffin’s van. Griffin and Lopez were initially implicated in the robbery and murder through a conversation that the pair had with an acquaintance in a bar across the street from the Service America warehouse.
Anthony Lopez developed severe mental problems prior to trial. He has been institutionalized in order to restore his competency to stand trial.
Nicolas Kocolis was incarcerated on a probation violation not related to the McCallops murders.
11/29/95 Indicted as follows:
Count I First-Degree Murder (Tom McCallops)
Count II First-Degree Murder (Patricia McCallops)
06/13/97 Pled guilty to both counts of the indictment
12/08/97 Waived jury recommendation vote
07/10/98 Sentenced as follows:
Count I First-Degree Murder (Tom McCallops) – Death
Count II First-Degree Murder (Patricia McCallops) – Death
Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal
820 So.2d 906
09/14/98 Appeal filed
05/30/02 FSC affirmed convictions and sentences
06/21/02 Mandate issued
Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion
08/27/03 Motion filed
09/19/03 Motion amended
07/25/05 Motion amended
09/25/07 Motion amended
12/01/08 Motion granted in part and denied in part; new penalty phase granted
Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Motion Appeal
01/05/09 Appeal filed
Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
10/08/09 Petition filed
Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition of Sentence:
The Direct Appeal was pending from 09/14/98 – 05/30/02.
Griffin filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 09/14/98, citing the following errors: improper finding of a voluntary and intelligent waiver of a jury recommendation, failing to consider mitigating evidence, and improper doubling of aggravating circumstances. On 05/30/02, the FSC affirmed the convictions and sentences.
Griffin filed a 3.850 Motion with the Circuit Court on 08/27/03 and amended the Motion on 09/19/03, 07/25/05 and 09/25/07. The motion was denied in part and granted in part. Griffin was granted a new penalty phase.
Griffin filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 01/05/09, which is pending.
Griffin filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the Florida Supreme Court on 10/08/09, which is pending.
Report Date: 01/30/04 JFL
Approved: 02/03/04 EW
Updated: 04/09/10 KKR