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.
McGirth, Renaldo D. (B/M)
5th Judicial Circuit, Marion County Case # 06-CF-2999
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Brian D. Lambert
Attorney, Trial: Candace A. Hawthorne – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Christopher J. Anderson – Private
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: TBA
Date of Offense: 07/21/06
Date of Sentence: 05/05/08
Circumstances of Offense:
Sheila Miller was living with her parents, James and Diana Miller, in The Villages, a gated retirement community in Marion County, Florida. She was recovering from an automobile accident. On 07/21/06, Renaldo McGirth, who was one of Sheila’s acquaintances, Jarrord Roberts, and Theodore Houston, Jr. visited Sheila at her parents’ home. James had seen the three men enter the house, but he went to take a shower before his haircut appointment. After they spent some time talking in the living room, Sheila, McGirth, and Houston went to Sheila’s room. Roberts stayed in the living room with Diana. While in Sheila’s bedroom, McGirth pointed a gun at her and ordered Houston to tape her mouth and bind her wrists with duct tape. Diana was asked to come into Sheila’s bedroom, where McGirth pushed her onto the bed and asked for all of her money. She replied that she only had $70 in the house. McGirth believed she had more because she lived in The Villages. When Diana went to retrieve the money, McGirth shot her in the chest. Diana informed McGirth that he shot her in the heart and asked for him to call 911, but he ignored her.
Roberts took the Millers’ wallets and car keys and gave them to McGirth. After James finished his shower, he was taken to Sheila’s bedroom. He was forced to the ground and had his head pinned to the floor by one of the men’s foot. The men then took Diana into the computer room. They used the Miller’s credit cards and identification information coerced from Diana to attempt to purchase cell phones online, but they were unable to complete the purchases. Diana crawled back to Sheila’s bedroom several minutes later.
McGirth and Houston took Sheila from the house, and Roberts placed her in the Millers’ van. McGirth and Houston returned to the house where McGirth shot James and Diana in the backs of their heads. According to the medical examiner, Diana died as a result of the gunshot to her head. James survived and escaped through the window to get help from a neighbor.
Meanwhile, McGirth and Roberts took Sheila to an ATM nearby. Houston followed in the car, a silver Ford, which the group used to travel to the Millers’ house. Sheila withdrew $500, gave the money to McGirth, and he divided it into thirds. They all traveled to a K-Mart in Belleview where McGirth and Sheila attempted to find a specific cell phone in the store, but without success. The men and Sheila left the Ford in the K-Mart parking lot and went to a mall in Gainesville. They tried to withdraw money from multiple ATMs and purchase items from stores, but they were not successful.
Law enforcement officers secured the scene at the Millers’ house and issued a BOLO (be on the lookout) for a red van with three black males and a possible kidnap victim. The van was spotted by a police officer at a convenience store in Ocala. McGirth went inside the store, and the officer turned on his siren and lights when he returned. McGirth pulled over and was told by one of the men in the van to “shoot the cop.” Instead, McGirth kept the van running and, when he was ordered to turn it off, he sped away. A high-speed chase ensued. McGirth gave a gun to Houston and ordered him to shoot Sheila so that she could not identify any of them. Houston did not shoot her. The van was eventually stopped with stop sticks and a PIT (Precision Immobilization Technique) maneuver that caused it to roll several times. Sheila was found in the van, and Houston was discovered attempting to pull himself from underneath the van. McGirth and Roberts managed to flee the van, but were found and taken into custody shortly after. The police found $259 in McGirth’s pocket. The money was bloody, and his fingerprints were found on two paper items from James’ wallet.
Roberts received life in prison for robbery with a firearm, 15 years for manslaughter, and five years for attempted voluntary manslaughter. He was also charged with kidnapping with a firearm, but was acquitted of that charge.
Houston testified against McGirth and Roberts in exchange for a plea agreement. Houston was convicted of second-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and robbery with a firearm. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
08/09/06 Indicted as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder (Diana Miller)
Count II: Attempted First-Degree Murder
Count III: Robbery with a firearm
Count IV: Kidnapping with a firearm
Count V: Felony Attempting to Elude Police
02/08/08 Jury returned guilty verdicts on counts I-III and V of the indictment; Jury acquitted on Count IV
02/13/08 Jury recommended death by a vote of 11-1
05/05/08 Sentenced as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder (Diana Miller) – Death
Count II: Attempted First-Degree Murder – Life in Prison
Count III: Robbery with a firearm – Life in Prison
Count V: Felony Attempting to Elude Police – 15 years
Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal
48 So.3d 777
05/27/08 Direct Appeal filed
04/05/10 Oral Arguments held
11/10/10 FSC affirmed convictions and sentence
12/02/10 Mandate issued
United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari
02/04/11 Petition filed
McGirth filed a Direct Appeal on 05/27/08. He raised the following eight issues: (1) admitting William’s Rule evidence, (2) response to a jury question concerning the law on principals, (3) admitting excessive and inflammatory victim-impact evidence, (4) prosecutorial remark during the penalty phase closing argument, (5) cold, calculated, and premeditated aggravator, (6) heinous, atrocious, or cruel aggravator, (7) avoid-arrest aggravator, and (8) Ring v. Arizona. Oral Arguments were held on 04/05/10. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed McGirth’s convictions and death sentence on 11/10/10. A mandate was issued on 12/02/10.
McGirth filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on 02/04/11. This petition is currently pending.
Report Date: 01/03/10 EMJ
Approved: 01/11/11 RM
Updated: 02/15/11 EMJ