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.
LAWRENCE, Jonathan Huey (W/M)
First Judicial Circuit, Santa Rosa County Case# 98-270
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Paul A. Rasmussen
Attorney, Trial: Antoinette M. Stitt – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Chet Kaufman & David A. Davis – Assistant Public Defenders
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Michael P. Reiter – Registry
Date of Offense: 05/07/98
Date of Sentence: 08/15/00
Circumstances of Offense:
On 03/24/00, Jonathan Huey Lawrence was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Jennifer Robinson, conspiracy to commit the murder, providing alcoholic beverages to a minor and abuse of a human corpse.
On 05/07/98, Lawrence and his friend, Jeremiah Martel Rodgers, picked up 18-year-old Jennifer Robinson from her mother’s home. They drove to a secluded area in the woods where the three consumed alcoholic beverages. Robinson had sex with Lawrence and then Rodgers while under the influence of the alcoholic beverages provided by the two men. After having sex with both men, Robinson was shot in the back of the head by Rodgers with a Lorcin .380 handgun. Robinson died minutes later.
Lawrence and Rodgers loaded the body into Lawrence’s truck and drove deeper into the woods. After finding a stopping place, Lawrence scored Robinson’s calf and removed her muscle. Rodgers photographed Lawrence’s procedure with a Polaroid camera and each took turns posing with Robinson’s body. Afterwards, they buried Robinson at the site.
Robinson’s disappearance was traced to Lawrence and Rodgers. The men were confronted by an investigator and they denied ever knowing Robinson. Lawrence gave his consent for the investigator to search his trailer and truck. The investigator discovered the photographs of Robinson’s body taken during mutilation, disturbing notes written about the mutilation, a Lorcin .380 handgun, and miscellaneous artifacts of the murder event. Lawrence was instantly arrested by the investigator and confessed to his involvement; he then led investigators to Robinson’s body.
Lawrence was indicted on 06/04/98 and pled guilty on four counts: Count I, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder; Count II, giving alcoholic beverages to a minor; Count III, first-degree premeditated murder; and Count IV, abuse of a human corpse. Lawrence filed for a direct appeal on 03/27/00.
Jeremiah Martel Rodgers (DC# 123101)
Rodgers pled guilty for the same offenses as Lawrence. Their prosecutions were conducted separately in the First Circuit Court of Santa Rosa County (CC# 98-274).
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
4Y 0M 0D
06/04/98 Indicted as follows:
Count I: Conspiracy to Commit First-Degree Murder
Count II: Giving Alcoholic Beverages to a Person Under Twenty-one
Count III: First-Degree Premeditated Murder (Jennifer Robinson)
Count IV: Abuse of a Human Corpse
Count V: Possession of a Firearm of a Convicted Felon
03/24/00 Jury returned guilty verdicts on Counts I-IV; Count V was disposed nolle prosequi
03/30/00 Jury recommended death by a vote of 11-1
08/15/00 Sentenced as follows:
Count I: Conspiracy to Commit First-Degree Murder – 18Y, 5M, 15D
Count II: Giving Alcoholic Beverages to a Person Under Twenty-one – 2Y, 3M, 11D
Count III: First-Degree Murder (Jennifer Robinson) – Death
Count IV: Abuse of Human Corpse – 15Y
Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal
846 So. 2d 440 (2003)
03/27/00 Appeal filed
04/13/00 Presentence hearing
03/20/03 FSC affirmed sentence and conviction
05/14/03 Rehearing denied and mandate issued
United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari
540 U.S. 952, 124 S.Ct. 394, 157 L.Ed.2d 286
07/15/03 Petition filed
10/14/03 Petition denied
State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion
07/09/04 Motion filed
01/26/06 Motion denied
Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal
969 So.2d 294 (Fla. 2007)
02/22/06 Appeal filed
11/01/07 Denial affirmed.
11/26/07 Mandate issued.
Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Habeas Corpus
969 So.2d 294 (Fla. 2007)
06/14/06 Petition filed
11/01/07 Petition denied.
11/26/07 Mandate issued.
United States District Court, Northern District – Petition for Habeas Corpus
02/20/08 Petition filed.
07/21/10 Petition denied.
Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition of Sentence:
It took the Florida Supreme Court three years to render a decision on Lawrence’s Direct Appeal.
On 3/27/00, Lawrence filed a Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. There were numerous issues raised. First, Lawrence claimed the trial court failed to appoint medical experts and order an evidentiary competency hearing regarding his current mental and psychological disturbances, which were of a serious nature. Second, Lawrence contended that the trial court erred again by excluding Rodgers’ criminal history, as Lawrence claimed that he acted under extreme duress through his involvement with Rodgers. Third, Lawrence argued that the trial court erroneously discovered the cold, calculated, and premeditated aggravator (CCP), indicating that Lawrence had a prearranged plan to kill Robinson. Fourth, Lawrence claimed that the trial court committed reversible error by including non-recorded facts on the CCP findings and by ambiguously assigning weight to the mitigator. Fifth, Lawrence raised the constitutionality of the death sentence, indicating that it violated Florida, federal, and international law. Sixth, Lawrence claimed the trial court erred in denying his motion for a mistrial, as a result of the trial court committing reversible error by overruling Lawrence’s objections to the investigator’s opinion on Lawrence’s alter ego. Finally, Lawrence claimed that his sentence was disproportionate to the circumstances of the crime in that there were more mitigating than aggravated circumstances. Because the sentencing order of this case found extensive aggravating circumstances and substantial mitigating circumstances, the Court believed the trial judge properly weighed these circumstances in delivering his death sentence. Thus, the Court upheld his death sentence on 03/20/03.
On 07/15/03, Lawrence filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, which was denied on 10/14/03.
On 9/10/04, Lawrence filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court. The Motion was amended on 02/11/05, and was denied on 01/26/06.
On 02/22/06, Lawrence filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. On 11/01/07, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the Circuit Court’s denial of Lawrence’s 3.850 appeal. The Mandate was issued on 11/26/07.
On 06/14/06, Lawrence filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus to the Florida Supreme Court, which was denied on 11/01/07. The Mandate was issued on 11/26/07.
On 02/20/08, Lawrence filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus in the United States District Court, Northern District. This petition was denied on 07/21/10.
Report Date: 10/18/04 NRC
Approved: 10/18/04 JFL
Updated: 07/27/10 EMJ