The Commission on Capital Cases was not funded in the FY 2011-2012 General Appropriations Act, and the Commission ceased operations on June 30, 2011. This site and the Commission website are being retained to provide access to historical materials.

The Registry Attorneys will be continued by the Justice Administration Commission.

These actions are effective July 1, 2011.

Disclaimer: The Commission on Capital Cases receives this information from a variety of sources. The site will be updated consistently as information is received and will be audited bi-annually. We make every attempt to ensure the accuracy of the information provided; however, the information should be verified by the applicable court prior to using it for legal or statistical purposes.


Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
ThomasWilliam 311509FederalCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
3/22/2004USDC03--237Habeas appeal
8/26/2005USDC03--237Supplement to response
7/2/2009USDC-M03--237Petition stayed; Case administratively closed due to pending Certiorari Petition in USSC
8/21/2009USSC09-234Petition for Writ of Certiorari filed
9/24/2009USSC09-234Response brief filed
10/15/2009USSC09-234Supplemental response brief filed
11/2/2009USSC09-234Petition denied

Current Attorney

Last NameFirst NameCityAddressZipPhoneEMail
BonnerMary CatherineFt. Lauderdale, FL207 S.W. 12th Court33315-1522954/523-6225Email


Last NameCase NumberJudgeCountyCCRCOrder DateContract Date

Last Updated

2008-01-09 11:43:13.0

Case Summary
Direct Links

The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly

The Commission on Capital Cases updates thisinformation regularly.  This information, however, is subject to changeand may not reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not berelied on for statistical or legal purposes.


THOMAS, William Gregory (W/M)

DC #   311509

DOB: 07/22/60   


Fourth Judicial Circuit, Duval County, Case #93-5394

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable DavidWiggins   

Attorney, Criminal Trial: Richard Nichols, Esq. 

Attorneys, Direct Appeal: Nancy Daniels – Public Defender& Steven Seliger, Esq.

Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Mary Catherine Bonner –Federal; Vacant – State     


Date of Offense: 09/12/91

Date of Sentence: 07/22/94


Circumstances of Offense:


William Thomas was convicted and sentenced to death for themurder of his wife, Rachel Thomas.


To avoid paying his portion of their impending divorcesettlement, William Thomas planned to kidnap and kill his wife.  On09/12/91, Thomas and his friend, Douglas Schraud, went to Rachel’s house inorder to kidnap her.  Thomas beat Rachel and then tied her up. Rachel attempted to flee by hopping outside, but Thomas dragged her back intothe house by her hair.  Thomas then put Rachel into the truck of her carand left the scene.  Rachel Thomas was never seen again.


Thomas was eventually indicted for the murder of his wife inMay, 1993.  Thomas had made numerous inculpatory statements about RachelThomas’ disappearance; however, suspicion fell heavily upon Thomas after hismother was murdered.  Authorities believed that Thomas killed his motherin order to prevent her from implicating him in the murder of Rachel Thomas.


Additional Information:


William Thomas was also convicted and sentenced to lifeimprisonment (CC #93-5393) for the 05/04/93 murder of his mother, Elsie Thomas,who he killed in order to keep her from talking to the police about the deathof Rachel Thomas.  On 07/14/94, Thomas pled guilty to the murder of ElsieThomas.  In exchange for a recommendation of life in this case (CC#93-5393), Thomas waived his right to appeal any guilt phase issue arising outof the trial for the murder of his wife, Rachel Thomas (CC #93-5394).


Codefendant Information:


Douglas Schraud


Douglas Schraud was convicted of Kidnapping and, on10/07/94, was sentenced to

12 years in prison.  He was released 11/08/98 afterserving only four years.


Trial Summary:


05/20/93         Thomas was indicted on the following:

CountI:           First-DegreeMurder

CountII:         Burglary

CountIII:        Kidnapping

03/24/94         Thomas was found guilty on all counts charged in the indictment.

03/30/94         Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by an 11 to 1 majority, voted for the deathpenalty.

07/22/94         The defendant was sentenced as followed:

                                   CountI:           First-DegreeMurder – Death

                                   Count II:         Burglary– Life

                                   Count III:        Kidnapping –Life


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court - Direct Appeal

FSC #84,256

693 So. 2d 951 (Fla. 1997)


08/25/94         Appeal filed.

03/20/97         FSC affirmed the convictions and sentence of death.

05/15/97         Rehearing denied.

06/18/97         Mandate issued.


United States Supreme Court - Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC #97-6051

522 U.S. 985 (U.S. 1997)


09/18/97         Petition filed.

11/17/97         Petition denied.


State Circuit Court - 3.850 Motion

CC #93-5394


10/05/98         Motion filed.

04/26/01         Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court - 3.850 Appeal

FSC #01-1439

838 So.2d 535 (2003)


06/29/01         Appeal filed.

01/30/03         3.850 Denial Affirmed.

03/03/03         Mandate issued.


United States District Court, Middle District –Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

USDC #03-CIV-237



03/22/04         Petition filed.

02/21/08         Evidentiary Hearing held.

07/02/09         Petition stayed; Case administratively closed due to pending Petition for Writof Certiorari in United States Supreme Court


United States Supreme Court - Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC #09-234

130 S.Ct. 498


08/21/09         Petitionfiled.

11/02/09         Petitiondenied


Case Information:


On 08/25/94, Thomas filed a Direct Appeal in the FloridaSupreme Court.  In that appeal, he argued that the State failed to provecorpus delecti[1]. The Florida Supreme Court noted:


In the present case, the State's evidence showed thefollowing: Douglas Schraud was present when Thomas beat, bound and abductedRachel in the trunk of her car. Later that day, Thomas met a friend at theRoosevelt Mall and the friend saw him park and abandon Rachel's car afterwiping it down with a towel. Thomas's palm print was found on the hood of thecar. Rachel has not been seen or heard from since. It was uncharacteristic ofRachel to miss appointments or to leave behind her family and son--she hadnever even stayed out all night before. She not only missed a planned eveningwith a friend, she left behind her gym bag, purse, driver's license, aphotograph of her son, twenty dollars in cash she had obtained only an hourbefore she disappeared, all her clothes, and the $ 750 she had in her bankaccount. Moreover, she disappeared the day before payday. She had given coworkersno indication she was unhappy in her job, and had never expressed to her familyany desire to leave or get away from it all. Although Rachel was a neat personand kept her home immaculate, after her disappearance her garage door was leftstanding wide open and the door into the house from the garage was leftunlocked. There were signs of a struggle in the foyer, as well as blood on thebaseboard and on the vent. Blankets were missing from the garage. Witnessestestified that Thomas wore tennis shoes the evening of the murder and there wasa tennis shoe print on the floor of the garage. When asked by police, however,Thomas denied owning any tennis shoes, and the next day he collected all histennis shoes and threw them away.

Based on the foregoing, we conclude that the Stateintroduced sufficient evidence to prove the corpus delicti of the murder and tolay the predicate for admission of Thomas's inculpatory statements. We notethat Thomas made many inculpatory statements and admissions. The State introducedsufficient evidence to show that Rachel is dead and Thomas killed her.


Thomas also argued that the court erred in failing toconsider mitigating evidence in the sentencing order.  The Florida SupremeCourt affirmed the convictions and sentence of death on 03/20/97.


Thomas next filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in theUnited States Supreme Court, which was denied on 11/17/97.


Next, Thomas filed a 3.850 Motion in the State CircuitCourt, which was denied on 04/26/01.  He then filed an appeal of thatdecision in the Florida Supreme Court on 06/29/01, in which the denial ofThomas’ 3.850 was affirmed.  A mandate was issued 03/03/03.


Thomas filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in theUnited States District Court, Middle District on 03/22/04.  An EvidentiaryHearing was held on 02/21/08. On 07/02/09, the United States District Courtordered this petition to be stayed and administratively closed this case due toa pending Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court.


On 08/21/09, a Petition for Writ of Certiorari was filed inthe United States Supreme Court. This petition was denied on 11/02/09.


Institutional Adjustment:



DATE            DAYS            VIOLATION                                    LOCATION        

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

04/30/96         10                   POSS OF CONTRABAND              FSP

05/28/96         60                   REF. SUB. ABUSE TEST                FSP

06/04/96         30                   LYING TO STAFF                           FSP

10/21/96         0                     REF. SUB. ABUSE TEST                FSP

09/01/98         80                   REF. SUB. ABUSE TEST                CENTRAL     

02/06/99         30                   VISITING VIOLATIONS               FSP





Report Date   06/10/02          EW

Approved       06/12/02          WS

Updated         04/29/10          EMJ


[1] Corpus delecti – proof, independent of a confession, that thecrime charged was, in fact, committed.