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.
EVANS, Steven (B/M)
Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange County Case # 96-5639
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Jay Paul Cohen
Attorney, Trial: Andrea Black – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: George D. E. Burden – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Mark Gruber & David Hendry – CCRC-M
Date of Offense: 04/25/96
Date of Sentence: 06/07/99
Circumstances of Offense:
On 04/26/96, Steven Evans, Edward Francis, Gervalow Ward, and Kenneth Lewis drove to Sanford, Florida, to commit a home invasion robbery of a drug dealer. The robbery was called off when Lewis abandoned the others in the getaway car, which belonged to Evans’ girlfriend’s brother.
Evans, Francis, and Ward then went to Mark Quinn’s house and called Evans’ girlfriend, telling her to call the police and report the car stolen. Evans, Francis, Ward, Quinn, and Blaine Stafford then went to Evans’ apartment to wait for Lewis. When Lewis arrived, the five men jumped Lewis, beat him up, and bound and gagged him. Evans then constructed a homemade silencer with a shampoo bottle. Evans, Francis, and Ward took Lewis out of the apartment and down to a culvert, where they pushed him down. Evans told Lewis that they were the last three people he (Lewis) would leave behind and the last three people he would see. Evans then placed the gun to Lewis’ head and shot six times, hitting Lewis in the head with five of the shots.
Edward Francis was convicted of First-Degree Murder and Kidnapping and sentenced to life imprisonment and 11 years, 11 months, and 23 days, respectively. Gervalow Ward was convicted of Kidnapping and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
In March of 1998, prior to trial, court-appointed experts conducted a competency and sanity evaluation of Evans. Evans was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and determined to be incompetent to stand trial. Evans was ordered to undergo further evaluation, and he was ordered to be involuntarily committed on 10/14/98. Later, after hearing testimony from mental health experts, the court determined that Evans was competent to stand trial.
After the filing of the 3.850 Motion, Evans’ competency again became an issue. On 02/14/03, a competency and discovery hearing was held. A Durocher hearing was held on 10/13/03 to determine Evans’ competency to waive postconviction appeals. On 10/23/03, Evans was determined competent by the court.
Prior Incarceration History in the State of Florida:
Prior to the murder, Evans had a 1994 Robbery conviction for which he was sentenced to five years, six months in prison.
05/10/96 Indicted as follows:
Count I First-Degree Murder
Count II Kidnapping
04/09/99 Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment
04/15/99 Jury recommended a death sentence by a vote of 11-1
06/07/99 Sentenced as follows:
Count I First-Degree Murder – Death
Count II Kidnapping – 10 years, 1 month, 8 days
Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal
800 So.2d 182
07/12/99 Appeal filed
10/11/01 FSC affirmed convictions and sentences
12/10/01 Rehearing denied and Mandate issued
Circuit Court – 3.851 Motion
10/16/02 Motion filed
12/18/03 Motion amended
11/08/04 CC denied Motion
Florida Supreme Court – 3.851 Motion Appeal
975 So. 2d 1035
01/27/05 Appeal filed
11/15/07 Appeal denied
11/29/07 Motion for rehearing
12/10/07 Rehearing denied
Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
975 So. 2d 1035
08/26/05 Petition filed
11/15/07 Petition denied
11/29/07 Motion for rehearing
02/14/08 Rehearing denied
United States District Court, Middle District – Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
07/25/08 Petition filed
Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition of Sentence:
The case progression appears to be within acceptable time parameters.
Evans filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 07/12/99, citing the following errors: finding Evans competent to stand trial; denying Evans’ motion for mistrial after a witness referred to Evans’ prior criminal record; allowing the introduction of irrelevant and prejudicial evidence; improperly finding aggravating circumstances (cold, calculated, and premeditated murder and heinous, atrocious, or cruel murder); improperly balancing aggravating factors against mitigating factors; disproportionate use of the death penalty due to the facts of the case; and the death sentence is based on a split jury vote (11-1) and is unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution. The FSC affirmed the convictions and sentences on 10/11/01.
Evans filed a 3.851 Motion with the Circuit Court on 10/16/02 and amended the Motion on 12/18/03. The Circuit Court denied the 3.851 Motion on 11/08/04.
Evans filed a 3.851 Motion Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 01/27/05 that was denied on 11/15/07.
Evans filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the Florida Supreme Court on 08/26/05 that was denied on 11/15/07.
Evans filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the United States District Court on 07/25/08 that is currently pending.
THE FOLLOWING ENTRIES REFLECT DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS AGAINST THE INMATE FOR VIOLATION OF THE RULE CITED AND INDICATE THE GAIN TIME DAYS LOST.
DATE DAYS VIOLATION LOCATION
09/15/94 60 DISRESP.TO OFFICIALS LIBERTY C.I.
09/15/94 30 POSS OF UNAUTH CLOTH LIBERTY C.I.
07/21/95 30 OBSCENE PROFANE ACT CENTRAL OFFICE
10/21/95 600 ESCAPE OR ATTEMPT COCOA W. R. C.
12/19/96 0 DISORDERLY CONDUCT BAKER C. I.
07/18/99 40 DISRESP.TO OFFICIALS FLORIDA STATE PRISON
08/22/99 0 DISOBEYING ORDER FLORIDA STATE PRISON
02/07/02 0 DISRESP.TO OFFICIALS UNION C. I.
10/02/02 90 SPOKEN THREATS UNION C. I.
02/03/03 34 UNARMED ASSAULT UNION C. I.
03/09/03 0 DISRESP.TO OFFICIALS UNION C. I.
03/10/03 0 UNARMED ASSAULT UNION C. I.
08/22/04 40 DISRESP.TO OFFICIALS UNION C. I.
04/01/05 0 POSS OF CONTRABAND UNION C.I.
Report Date: 05/15/03 JFL
Approved: 06/10/03 WS
Updated: 08/13/08 KLH