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.


PITTMAN, David (W/M)

DC# 351997

DOB:  12/10/61


Tenth Judicial Circuit, Polk County, Case# CF90-2242A1-XX

Sentencing Judge:  The Honorable Tim J. Strickland

Trial Attorney:  Robert A. Norgard – Assistant Public Defender

Attorney, Direct Appeal:  A. Anne Owens – Assistant Public Defender

Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Martin J. McClain – Registry



Date of Offense:  05/15/90

Date of Sentence:  04/25/91



Circumstances of the Offense:


David Pittman was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of Clarence, Barbara, and Bonnie Knowles.


Clarence and Barbara Knowles’ daughter, Marie, was married to Pittman.  Marie initiated a divorce, which Pittman did not want. During the course of the divorce, Pittman had threatened to harm both Marie and her family.


In the early morning hours of 05/15/90, witnesses phoned the fire department to report that the residence of Clarence and Barbara Knowles, Marie’s parents, was on fire. It was discovered, after the investigation, that the perpetrator had cut the phone line and after setting the fire stole the car of Bonnie Knowles, the couple’s other daughter.


The bodies of Clarence, Barbara, and Bonnie were found in the home. The cause of death for all three was attributed to multiple stab wounds, which resulted in massive bleeding. Additionally, Bonnie Knowles’ throat had been slit.


Another witness testified that on the same morning of 05/15/90, he saw a car similar to Bonnie Knowles’ in a ditch on the side of the road close to the Knowles’ home. This witness saw a truck, determined to belong to Pittman, pull beside the car.  The witness later noticed the car on fire. Another witness saw a man running from the burning car, and later identified the man as Pittman in a photo line-up.


A jailhouse informant testified that Pittman confessed to the aforementioned crimes.


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)

Offense Date


Sentence Date


Case No.

Prison Sentence Length









4Y 0M 0D









2Y 6M 0D




GRAND THEFT,$300 LESS &20,000




4Y 6M 0D




Prior Community Supervision History: (Note: Data reflected covers periods of community supervision with the Florida Dept. of Corrections since January of 1983)

Offense Date


Sentence Date


Case No.

Community Supervision Length









2Y 0M 0D




GRAND THEFT,$300 LESS &20,000




0Y 0M 90D





Trial Summary:


07/12/90          Indicted as follows:

                                    Count I:            First-Degree Murder (Clarence Knowles)

                                    Count II:           First-Degree Murder (Barbara Knowles)

                                    Count III:         First-Degree Murder (Bonnie Knowles)

                                    Count IV:         Arson

                                    Count V:          Burglary

                                    Count VI:         Grand Theft

                                    Count VII:        Arson

04/19/91          Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment with the

exception of Count V

04/25/91          Jury recommended death by a vote of 9-3

04/25/91          Sentenced as follows:

                                    Count I:            First-Degree Murder – Death

                                    Count II:           First-Degree Murder – Death

                                    Count III:         First-Degree Murder – Death

                                    Count IV:         Arson – 15 years

                                    Count VI:         Grand Theft – 5 years

                                    Count VII:        Arson – 15 years                     



Appeal Summary:


Florida State Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 78,605

646 So. 2d 167 (Fla. 1994)


09/16/91          Appeal filed

09/29/94          FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence

12/19/94          Rehearing denied

01/23/95          Mandate issued


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC# 94-8589

514 U.S 1119; 115 S. Ct. 1982; 131 L. Ed. 2d 870 (US 1995)


03/20/95          Petition filed

05/15/95          Petition denied


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# CF90-2242A1-XX


03/24/97          Motion filed

11/02/01          Amended motion filed

09/15/05          Second Amended Motion filed

05/08/06          Evidentiary hearing held

03/08/07          Amended to 09/15/05 Motion

06/01/07          Second Amendment to Second Amended Motion filed

07/27/07          Evidentiary hearing held

11/05/07          Motion denied.

11/27/07          Motion for Rehearing filed.

12/17/07          Motion for Rehearing denied.


Florida State Supreme Court – 3.851 Appeal

FSC# 08-146



02/04/08          Appeal filed.


Florida State Supreme Court – Petition for Habeas Corpus

FSC# 08-2486



12/29/08          Petition filed.



Factors Contributing to the Delay in the Imposition of the Sentence:


Pittman filed a 3.850 Motion on 03/24/97, which was dismissed one month later.  He then filed an interlocutory appeal on 06/01/99, which was denied on 11/02/01.  Also on 11/02/01, Pittman filed an amended 3.850 Motion.  On 09/15/05, Pittman filed a second amended motion (under a new presiding Judge Kornstein), which has since been pending while public records requests are handled. 


Case Information:


On 09/16/91, Pittman filed his Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.  In his appeal, he contended that the court incorrectly admitted evidence of his past crimes.  Pittman also claimed that the trial court admitted identification testimony that was manipulated by suggestive procedures.  Some of Pittman’s other claims included hearsay evidence of someone else’s involvement in the murder was not admitted and the judge rendered an insufficient sentencing order, which imposed three death sentences.  The Court found no merit in any of Pittman’s claims and affirmed his convictions and sentences on 09/29/94.


On 03/20/95, Pittman filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari, which was subsequently denied on 05/15/95.


On 03/24/97, Pittman filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court.  The motion was dismissed on 04/24/97.  Subsequently, he filed an amended 3.850 Motion on 11/02/01.  On 09/15/05, Pittman filed a second amended 3.850 Motion.  On 05/08/06, the evidentiary hearing was held.  The second motion was amended on 03/08/07, which is currently pending.  On 06/01/07, a second amendment to the second motion was filed, which is currently pending.  An evidentiary hearing was held on 07/27/07.  The order denying Pittman’s Second amended motion was entered on 11/05/07.  Pittman filed a Motion for Rehearing on 11/27/07, which was denied 12/17/07.


On 02/04/08, Pittman filed a 3.851 Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court.  This appeal is currently pending.


On 12/29/08, Pittman filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus. This petition is currently pending.



Institutional Adjustment:


  DATE     DAYS           VIOLATION                             LOCATION     

  --------       ----        ----------------------------                  -------------------

12/12/93         0        POSS OF CONTRABAND           UNION C. I.       

06/17/98     180        REF. SUB. ABUSE TEST              UNION C. I.       

11/29/98         0        DISOBEYING ORDER                UNION C. I.   




Report Date:     07/14/03          EMC

Approved:        09/02/03          WS

Updated:          12/31/09          CAR