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, Lawrence (W/M)
DC # R24256
Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pasco County, Case #99-3110
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Maynard F. Swanson, Jr.
Attorney, Trial: Daniel M. Hernandez – Special Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Paul C. Helm – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Resentencing: Keith Hammond – Private
Date of Offense: 09/14/99
Date of Sentence: 08/17/01
Date of Resentence: 04/22/08
Circumstances of Offense:
Lawrence Smith was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Robert Crawford.
On 09/13/99, Faunce Pearce gave money to Ken Shook, Stephen Tuttle, Robert Crawford, and Amanda Havner to acquire drugs for him. The four returned to the home of Shook’s stepfather, Bryon Loucks, without the money or the drugs because the money had been stolen. Pearce found out that the money had been stolen before the four arrived and was waiting outside for them with a gun. Pearce forced Shook, Tuttle, Crawford, Havner, and Loucks into Loucks’ home at gunpoint. Pearce eventually allowed Havner to leave.
Pearce contacted Theodore Butterfield and asked him to bring Lawrence Smith to Loucks’ home. Heath Brittingham accompanied Butterfield and Smith to Loucks’ home. The three men were armed when they arrived at Loucks’ home.
Pearce ordered Tuttle and Crawford into his car at gunpoint. Pearce demanded that the boys show him who stole the money. Pearce told Loucks that he was going to drive the boys down the road, hit them in the mouth and make them walk home. Loucks would not let Pearce take Shook, Loucks’ stepson, with them. Pearce, Smith, Butterfield, Brittingham, Tuttle and Crawford left in Pearce’s car. Pearce was driving, and Smith was in the front passenger’s seat. Butterfield and Brittingham were sitting on either side of the backseat with Tuttle and Crawford sitting in the middle.
Pearce drove for a short period of time. According to Butterfield, Pearce and Smith exchanged guns during the drive because Smith said that his gun tended to jam. Pearce stopped the car and told Tuttle to get out. Smith exited car through the passenger’s side and let Tuttle out of the two-door car from the backseat. As Tuttle was getting out of the car, Pearce told Smith to hit Tuttle in the face. Instead, Smith shot Tuttle in the back of the head. Pearce asked if Tuttle was dead, and Smith answered in the affirmative. Pearce then drove further up the road. He stopped the car and told Crawford to get out of the car. Smith exited the car and let Crawford out of the car. Smith then shot Crawford once in the head and once in the chest.
Smith threatened to kill Butterfield and Brittingham if they told. Pearce, Smith, Butterfield, and Brittingham drove to restaurant where Pearce and Smith ate. Pearce and Smith then dropped Brittingham and Butterfield off at a grocery store and told them to stay there until they got back, which was about 40 minutes to an hour later. After picking up Butterfield and Brittingham from the store, Pearce drove to a bridge. Smith wrapped the gun in newspaper and threw the gun into the water from the bridge. The gun was eventually recovered from Tampa Bay.
Tuttle survived the gunshot to the head and was able to flag down help. Crawford died at the scene.
Smith was arrested on 09/14/99 as he attempted to leave town. Butterfield and Brittingham eventually acted as state’s witnesses.
Codefendant Status: Faunce Pearce (Pasco County Circuit #99-3110)
Pearce was convicted of First-Degree Murder and Attempted Second-Degree Murder. On 09/14/01, Pearce was sentenced to Death for First-Degree Murder and 25 years for Second-Degree Murder.
09/14/99 Smith was arrested.
09/17/99 Smith was indicted on the following charges:
Count I: First-Degree Murder (Robert Crawford)
Count II: Attempted First-Degree Murder (Stephen Tuttle)
09/17/99 Smith entered a plea of not guilty.
05/03/01 Smith was found guilty on all counts charged in the indictment.
05/04/01 Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by an 8 to 4 majority, voted for the death penalty.
08/17/01 Smith was sentenced as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder (Robert Crawford) – Death
Count II: Attempted First-Degree Murder (Stephen Tuttle) – Life
03/01/04 Smith’s death sentence was remanded to the Circuit Court for a resentencing hearing.
04/22/08 Jury voted, by a 7 to 5 majority, for the death penalty.
04/22/08 Taking the jury’s recommendation under advisement, Judge Lynn Tepper resentenced Smith as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder (Robert Crawford) – Life
866 So. 2d 51
09/19/01 Appeal filed.
01/29/04 FSC affirmed Smith’s convictions and life sentence but reversed Smith’s death sentence and remanded for resentencing due to the trial court’s statement that the death penalty was required for the crime, which could have been either a misstatement of the law by the judge or a misunderstanding of the law by the judge.
03/01/04 Mandate issued.
Smith’s case was remanded to the trial court for resentencing hearing.
Report Date: 07/01/04 SQ
Approved: 07/08/04 EW
Updated: 07/08/08 AEH