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.
SMITH, COREY (B/M)
Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Miami-Dade County Case # 00-40026
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Jorge Perez
Attorney, Trial: Carl Masztal – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Teresa M. Pooler – Public Defender’s Office
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Neal A. Dupree & Suzanne M. Keffer – CCRC-S
Date of Offense: 07/24/97, 12/01/98
Date of Sentence: 03/24/05
Circumstances of Offense:
In December 2000, Corey Smith and seven other individuals were indicted for crimes committed in connection with the John Doe organization, a criminal enterprise that distributed powder and crack cocaine and marijuana in Miami-Dade County from 1994 to 1999. Smith was the alleged leader of the group and was convicted of conspiracy to engage in a criminal enterprise, engaging in a criminal enterprise, conspiracy to traffic in marijuana, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, four counts of conspiracy to commit murder, four counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Leon Hadley, Cynthia Brown, Angel Wilson, and Jackie Pope, and two counts of manslaughter for the deaths of Melvin Lipscomb and Marlon Beneby. On March 17, 2005, Smith received 2 sentences of life in prison for his involvement in the murders of Jackie Pope and Leon Hadley. Smith received 2 sentences of death for his involvement in the murders of Cynthia Brown and Angel Wilson. These sentences were received in conjunction with 8 other sentences ranging from 15 to 30 years in prison on a 14-count indictment. While the details of the other charges and sentences are explained elsewhere [see Smith v. State, No. 05,703 (Fla. Mar. 19, 2009)], this section of the case summary will outline only the circumstances of the offenses that resulted in a sentence of death.
Cynthia Brown was smothered to death on July 24, 1997. Brown was the sole witness against Smith in the 1996 murder of Dominique Johnson, a 19-year-old rival drug seller. While several people witnessed the Johnson murder, Brown was the only individual who came forward to identify Smith to the police. Smith was scheduled to be tried for Johnson’s murder on July 28, 1997. However, the prosecution was forced to dismiss the charges against Smith when Brown, the only witness, was found murdered less than a week before the trial was to take place. Several witnesses testified that Smith wanted to eliminate the witness who was going to testify against him in the Johnson murder case. Anthony Fail testified that Smith had offered him $50,000 to kill Brown, although he did not accept the offer. Fail also testified that Smith had put aside $20,000 to pay Brown’s boyfriend, Chazre Davis, for murdering Brown. Carlos Walker testified that he heard Smith instructing Davis to strangle or suffocate Brown, so as to not leave evidence at the scene.
Brown died from asphyxia as a result of being smothered with a pillow in a motel room she was sharing with Davis. The couple checked into the motel on the evening of July 23, 1997 and her body was found the following morning. Brown had petechial hemorrhages in her eyes, inside her upper lip, and on her epiglottis. Her lungs were full of fluid due to pulmonary edema. She had also sustained postmortem cuts on the side of her neck. All of these injuries were consistent with asphyxia as the cause of death.
Angel Wilson was shot to death on December 1, 1998. Due to a continuing feud between Smith and Wilson’s then-boyfriend, Anthony Fail, Smith had arranged for members of the John Doe organization to target Fail on the evening of Wilson’s death. That night, the couple took Wilson’s car when visiting the home of Fail’s stepbrother, James Harvey. When they arrived, Harvey warned Fail that he had seen a car, occupied by John Doe members, circling the block. Fearing for Wilson’s life, Fail persuaded her to leave the house and to drive home. Soon thereafter, Wilson was shot multiple times with a semiautomatic assault rifle while she was driving her car.
Wilson died of multiple gunshot wounds to her entire body. She was struck 16 times by bullets entering the driver’s side of her vehicle. Six of the bullet wounds were fatal. The medical examiner testified that Wilson’s lungs were riddled with pieces of metal fragments ripped from the door by the passing bullets. The bullet wounds caused extensive tissue damage, including severing her left breast and part of her ankle. She died in the vehicle from internal injuries.
Chazre Davis was indicted for the first-degree murder of Cynthia Brown, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and racketeering on 12/19/00. These charges are still under review in Miami-Dade county, case number F-00-040026-H.
Julius Stevens and Eric Stokes
Julius Stevens and Eric Stokes were charged in the murder of Angel Wilson. Stevens was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Eric Stokes was convicted of second-degree murder and is serving a 15-year sentence.
On 03/30/99, Smith was sentenced to life in prison by a federal judge. On October 21, 1999, Smith was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for federal drug and firearm charges. Five of his gang members received the same conviction and sentence.
Prior Incarceration History in the State of Florida:
Prior Prison History: (Note: Data reflected covers periods of incarceration with the Florida Dept.of Corrections since January of 1983)
Prison Sentence Length
ACCESSORY AFTER FACT
1Y 0M 1D
12/13/00 Indicted as follows:
Count I: Conspiracy to Violate Racketeering Law
Count II: Conspiracy to Violate Racketeering Law
Count III: Conspiracy to Traffic Drugs (Cannabis)
Count IV: Conspiracy to Traffic Drugs (Cocaine)
Count V: Conspiracy to Commit First-Degree Murder
Count VI: First-Degree Murder (Leon Hadley)
Count VII: Homicide, Manslaughter (Melvin Lipscomb)
Count VIII: Conspiracy to Commit First-Degree Murder
Count IX: First-Degree Murder (Jackie Pope)
Count X: Conspiracy to Commit First-Degree Murder
Count XI: First-Degree Murder (Cynthia Brown)
Count XII: Homicide, Manslaughter (Marlon Beneby)
Count XIII: Conspiracy to Commit First-Degree Murder
Count XIV: First-Degree Murder (Angel Wilson)
12/03/04 Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment.
02/10/05 Jury recommended death by a vote of 10-2 and 9-3.
03/17/05 Sentenced as follows:
Count I: Conspiracy to Violate Racketeering Law – 30 years
Count II: Conspiracy to Violate Racketeering Law – 30 years
Count III: Conspiracy to Traffic Drugs – 30 years
Count IV: Conspiracy to Traffic Drugs – 30 years
Count V: Conspiracy to Commit First-Degree Murder – 30 years
Count VI: First-Degree Murder (Leon Hadley) – Life
Count VII: Homicide, Manslaughter (Melvin Lipscomb) – 15 years
Count VIII: Conspiracy to Commit First-Degree Murder – 30 years
Count IX: First-Degree Murder (Jackie Pope) – Life
Count X: Conspiracy to Commit First-Degree Murder – 30 years
Count XI: First-Degree Murder (Cynthia Brown) – Death
Count XII: Homicide, Manslaughter (Marlon Beneby) – 15 years
Count XIII: Conspiracy to Commit First-Degree Murder – 30 years
Count XIV: First-Degree Murder (Angel Wilson) – Death
Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal
7 So.3d 473
04/25/05 Appeal filed
11/08/07 Oral Arguments held
03/19/09 Conviction and Sentences affirmed
04/13/09 Mandate issued
Florida Supreme Court – 3.851 Petition (Non-final)
32 So.3d 60
08/10/09 Petition seeking review of non-final order filed
03/09/10 Petition dismissed voluntarily
Circuit Court – 3.851 Motion
05/28/10 Motion filed
Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition of Sentence:
There are no undue delays at this time.
On 04/25/05, Smith filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court, citing the following issues: (1) the trial court erred in ordering extensive security precautions in and around the courtroom, which were highly prejudicial to the defendant, without giving the defendant notice and opportunity to be heard, which was in violation of his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to a fair trial; (2) the trial court erred in not striking the jury panelists who had been exposed to an out-of-court comment by the defendant’s mother, which several members of the venire disapproved of or found inappropriate; (3) the trial court erred in allowing the State to use a nonqualified expert to interpret the words and phrases used by various persons on taped conversations played to the jury; (4) the trial court erred in allowing the State to introduce, as non-hearsay, a police report which contained out-of-court statements of a witness accusing Corey Smith of a homicide not charged in this case and expressing her fear of him, (5) the trial court erred in limiting the cross-examination of three witnesses crucial to the State’s case, where the proffered cross-examination would provide an additional explanation for the cause of death of one victim and would provide motive to lie and bias for the two other witnesses; (6) the trial court erred by not granting a mistrial after the prosecutor presented the medical examiner with an improper hypothetical and solicited an opinion from the witness on the same facts after two defense objections were sustained; (7) the trial court erred in not granting a new trial for the State’s intentional failure to provide the defense with a witness statement that was materially favorable to the defense; (8) the trial court erred in not holding a hearing to determine prejudice to the defense after the testimony of witness, Carlos Walker, where the State failed to disclose to the defense that Carlos Walker has changed his statement after he was deposed and prior to his testimony at trial; and (9) the trial court erred in not granting a new trial where the trial was fundamentally flawed by the cumulative effect of prosecutorial misconduct, which could have reasonably been expected to affect the outcome of the trial. Oral Arguments were held on 11/08/07. On 03/19/09, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed both the convictions and the sentence of death. The Florida Supreme Court issued a mandate on 04/13/09.
On 08/10/09, Smith filed a petition seeking review of a non-final order in a death penalty proceeding in the Florida Supreme Court. This petition was dismissed voluntarily on 03/09/10.
Smith filed a 3.851 Motion in the Circuit Court on 05/28/10. This case is currently pending.
Report Date: 03/20/09 AEH
Approved: 03/27/09 RM
Updated: 07/22/10 EMJ