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
BuziaJohn E11617CCRC-MCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
8/30/2007CC00-009233.851 Motion filed
2/1/2008CC00-009232nd Amended motion
6/23/2008CC00-00923Evidentiary Hearing
3/25/2009CC00-00923Status Conference
10/1/2009CC00-00923Motion denied
8/23/2010FSC10-1645Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed
4/7/2011FSC10-1645Oral Arguments scheduled
4/7/2011FSC10-1645Oral arguments held
1/11/2010FSC10-313.850 Appeal
8/23/2010FSC10-31Initial brief filed
11/10/2010FSC10-31Answer brief filed
1/11/2011FSC10-31Reply Brief filed
4/7/2011FSC10-31Oral Arguments scheduled
4/7/2011FSC10-31Oral arguments held

Current Attorney

Last NameFirst NameCityAddressZipPhoneEMail
DeLiberatoMariaTampa, FL3801 Corporex Park Dr Ste 21033619813/740-3544Email


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 upon for statistical or legal purposes. 


BUZIA, John (W/M)

DC#     E11617

DOB:   06/06/60


Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, Seminole County Case # 00-923

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Kenneth Lester

Attorney, Trial: Timothy Caudill & James Figgatt – Assistant Public Defender

Attorney, Direct Appeal: George D.E. Burden – AssistantPublic Defender

Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Hunter Harris Chamberlin –CCRC-M


Date of Offense:          03/14/00

Date of Sentence:        03/11/04


Circumstances ofOffense:


John Buzia performed odd jobsaround the residence and rental properties of Charles and TheaKersch.  On the morning of 03/14/00, Buzia did not arrive at the Kerschresidence to work as scheduled.  In a later police interview, Buzia stated that he intended to resolve a “money issue”with the Kersches by stealing money from them. 


When Mrs. Kersch arrived at herresidence around 4:00 on the 14th, Buzia was waitingfor her.  He told her that he needed to talk to her husband.  After abrief conversation and without warning, Buzia struckMrs. Kersch several times with his fist, causingblood to spray from her nose.  After he knocked her down, he kicked her,and she lost consciousness.  He took her keys and removed $80 from herpurse, then dragged her into the back bedroom and covered her with ablanket.  Buzia then searched the house andremoved a Mastercard from her purse.


Buzia heard the garage door openand assumed that Mr. Kersch had arrived.  As Mr.Kersch entered the house through the garage entrance,Buzia struck him with his fist, causing Mr. Kersch to fall to the floor and hit his head on thetile.  Mr. Kersch attempted to rise, Buzia struck him again with his fist, and Mr. Kersch again fell to the floor.  Buziaremoved $100 from Mr. Kersch’s wallet. 


Buzia removed an axe (eithersingle or double-edged) from the garage and struck Mr. Kerschonce in the head with the flat side of the axe.  After hearing Mrs. Kersch groaning from the back bedroom, Buziawent to the back bedroom and also struck her once in the head with the flatside of the axe.  During police questioning after his arrest, Buzia claimed that he struck the Kerscheswith the axe to allow himself more time to escape.


After attempting to clean up the house, Buziatook Mr. Kersch’s car keys and one of hist-shirts.  Buzia then changed shirts and droveaway in Mr. Kersch’s car.  Mrs. Kersch had called 911 after Buzia’sinitial attack, and a sheriff’s deputy responded after Buziafled.  Mrs. Kersch identified Buzia as the attacker.  Paramedics later arrived andtreated Mrs. Kersch for her injuries, but Mr. Kersch died from blunt force trauma to his head. 


The following morning, Buzia wasarrested as he attempted to cash an $830 check from Mr. Kersch’saccount.  Bank employees recognized the car’s description and licenseplate from television and newspaper reports regarding the Kersch’smissing car and called police, who arrested Buzia atthe bank.   


Trial Summary:


04/04/00         Indicted as follows:

                                   Count I:           First-Degree Murder

                                   Count II:           AttemptedFirst-Degree Murder

                                   Count III:         Armed Burglary withAssault

                                   Count IV:         Armed Robbery

03/28/03         Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment

04/04/03         Jury recommended death by a vote of 8-4

03/11/04         Sentenced as follows:

                                   Count I:           First-Degree Murder – Death

                                   Count II:           AttemptedFirst-Degree Murder – Life Imprisonment

                                   Count III:         Armed Burglary withAssault – Life Imprisonment

                                   Count IV:         Armed Robbery – LifeImprisonment


Appeal Summary:


Florida SupremeCourt – Direct Appeal

FSC# 04-582

926 So. 2d 1203


04/01/04         Appeal filed

03/23/06         FSC affirmed convictions and sentences

04/13/06         Mandate issued


U.S. Supreme Court– Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC# 05-11730

127 S. Ct. 184


06/21/06         Petition filed

10/02/06         USSC denied petition


State CircuitCourt – 3.850 Motion

CC# 00-00923


08/30/07          Motionfiled

12/18/07          Motionamended

02/01/08          Motionamended

10/01/09          Motiondenied


Florida SupremeCourt – 3.850 Motion

FSC# 08-58

980 So.2d 1070


01/22/08          Emergencypetition filed

01/22/08          Motionfor stay of proceedings

04/03/08          Dismissedas moot


Florida SupremeCourt – 3.850 Motion Appeal

FSC #10-31



01/11/10          Appealfiled


Florida SupremeCourt – Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

FSC #10-1645



8/23/10            PetitionFiled



Factors Contributingto the Delay in Imposition of Sentence:


Four years elapsed between the offense date and sentencedate.  The offense occurred on 03/14/00, yet the sentence was handed downon 03/11/04.


Case Information:


On 04/01/04, Buzia filed a DirectAppeal in the Florida Supreme Court, citing the following errors: finding the aggravatingcircumstances of avoiding arrest, HAC (heinous, atrocious, cruel), and CCP(cold, calculated, premeditated); finding that the death penalty is warranted;and using a sentencing procedure that violates Ring.  On 03/23/06, the FSCaffirmed the convictions and sentences. 


On 06/21/06, Buzia filed aPetition for Writ of Certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, which was denied on10/02/06.


On 08/30/07, Buzia filed a Motionfor Post-Conviction Relief in the State Circuit Court, which was denied on 10/01/09. 


On 01/11/10, Buzia filed a 3.850Motion Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court, which is pending.


On 8/23/10, Buzia filed a Petitionfor Writ of Habeas Corpus with the Florida Supreme Court, which is pending.



Report Date:   03/16/07          JFL

Updated:         10/18/10          JJK