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.
SCHOENWETTER, Randy (W/M)
Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, Brevard County, Case # 00-41829
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Jack Griesbaum
Attorney, Trial: George McCarthy – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Christopher S. Quarles – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: James Driscoll & David Hendry – CCRC-M
Date of Offense: 08/12/00
Date of Sentence: 12/05/03
Circumstances of Offense:
On 08/12/00, Randy Schoenwetter broke into the Friskey residence with the admitted intentions of forcing one or both of their daughters to have sex with him. Schoenwetter was friends with the Friskey’s oldest son and had spent the night at the residence several times. Schoenwetter had spent the previous year riding his bike around town peeping into windows and fantasizing. He also broke into homes for excitement.
Schoenwetter entered the Friskey residence through a sliding glass door. He took a foot-long kitchen knife and wandered around the house. Schoenwetter went to Theresa’s bedroom which was locked, so he continued into the bedroom of the youngest daughter, 10-year-old Virginia. Virginia woke up when Schoenwetter entered her room and shrieked. The noises woke up her mother, Haesun, who then got up to check on Virginia. From the hallway, Haesun saw Schoenwetter standing by her daughter’s bed touching her. Haesun yelled at Schoenwetter and cannot remember much of what happened next, except that she and Ronald Friskey attacked Schoenwetter, and he fought back with the knife. After the fight, Schoenwetter went back into Virginia’s room and killed her since she had recognized him and called him by his first name. Schoenwetter then left the house the same way he entered and rode his bicycle back to his apartment. At his apartment, he took a shower and put the knife, his bloody clothes, and shoes in a bag, which he then threw in a dumpster. The articles were later retrieved by detectives.
The Friskey’s 16-year-old daughter, Theresa, was in the house during the attack, but was not harmed. She had peaked outside her bedroom when she heard the commotion, then locked her door, called 911, and hid in a closet. She reported to 911 that she did not know what was happening but to send help.
After the attack, Robert stumbled to the neighbor’s house in his underwear and had his neighbor call 911. Robert died at his neighbor’s house before paramedics arrived. Virginia also died that night from stab wounds. Haesun Friskey, however, miraculously survived the attack. Haesun had stab wounds to her abdomen, liver, chest, arms, back, face, and neck. Schoenwetter says the fight is a blur, and he can just remember that when Ronald and Haesun attacked him, he flailed wildly with the knife.
Detectives followed a blood trail from the Friskey residence to the apartment complex that Schoenwetter lived at with his mother. Schoenwetter was interviewed and brought down to the police station. At the station, in a video-taped interview, Schoenwetter admitted to committing the crimes. Schoenwetter accepted complete responsibility for his actions and pled guilty to all the charges of his indictment.
Three mental health experts provided testimony that Schoenwetter suffers from significant mental problems: Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of autism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Schoenwetter’s PET scan confirmed the Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis by revealing an abnormal frontal lobe. Schoenwetter’s type of neurological disorder prevented him from reaching emotional maturity. He has an emotional maturity level equivalent to an 11- or 12-year-old. The prosecutors, however, contended that Schoenwetter is smart, cold and calculating, with an I.Q. of around 130.
08/29/00 Indicted as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder (Virginia Friskey)
Count II: First-Degree Murder (Ronald Friskey)
Count III: Attempted First-Degree Murder (Haesun Friskey)
Count IV: Armed Burglary
03/05/03 Schoenwetter pled guilty to all charges of the indictment.
09/25/03 Jury recommended death by a vote of 10 to 2 for the murder of Virginia Friskey and 9 to 3 for the murder of Ronald Friskey.
12/05/03 Sentenced as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder (Virginia Friskey) – Death
Count II: First-Degree Murder (Ronald Friskey) – Death
Count III: Attempted First-Degree Murder – Life
Count IV: Armed Burglary – Life
Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal
931 So. 2d 857
01/14/04 Appeal filed
04/27/06 FSC affirmed convictions and sentence
06/08/06 Rehearing denied
06/26/06 Mandate issued
United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari
127 S. Ct. 587
09/06/06 Petition filed
11/13/06 USSC denied petition
Circuit Court – 3.851 Motion
10/30/07 Motion filed
02/19/08 Motion amended
11/07/08 Motion denied
Florida Supreme Court – 3.851 Appeal
46 So.3d 535
12/08/08 Appeal filed
07/01/10 FSC affirmed denial of postconviction motion
07/15/10 Motion for Rehearing filed
10/06/10 Motion denied
10/22/10 Mandate issued
Florida Supreme Court – Habeas Petition
46 So.3d 535
06/05/09 Petition filed
07/01/10 Petition denied
07/15/10 Motion for Rehearing filed
10/06/10 Motion denied
United States District Court, Middle District – Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
10/26/10 Petition filed
On 01/14/04, Schoenwetter filed a direct appeal with the Florida Supreme Court. In his appeal, Schoenwetter argued that error occurred when the trial court denied his motion to suppress his confession. Schoenwetter claimed that his constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel was violated by denying his counsel’s motion to withdraw. He also contended that error occurred in allowing a medical examiner who did not perform the autopsies to testify. He also argued that denying his motion for mistrial when the prosecutor deliberately misled the jury about Schoenwetter’s lack of significant criminal history and denying his motion to disqualify the judge were erroneous. An argument was made that admitting inflammatory photographs that were not relevant should have not taken place. Schoenwetter contended that his death sentences were impermissibly imposed since the court included improper aggravating circumstances, excluded existing circumstances, and failed to properly find that the mitigating circumstances outweighed the aggravating circumstances, rendering the death sentences unconstitutional. Schoenwetter’s final arguments were that the court placed a higher burden of persuasion on the defense to prove life imprisonment as an appropriate sentence than the state to prove death and that the death sentences were unconstitutional since the jury did not give a unanimous death recommendation. On 04/27/06, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed Schoenwetter’s convictions and sentence.
Report Date: 07/10/06 DDK
Approved: 07/13/06 JFL
Updated: 04/12/11 EMJ