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.

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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
VenturaPeter 110277CCRC-MCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
4/16/2009USSC08-10098Certiorari Petition filed
6/22/2009USSC08-10098Petition denied
1/10/2008FSC08-603.851 appeal filed
6/9/2008FSC08-60Initial brief filed
6/19/2008FSC08-60Answer brief filed
8/4/2008FSC08-60Reply brief filed
1/29/2009FSC08-60Disposition affirmed, 3.851 Appeal denied
2/18/2009FSC08-60Mandate issued

Current Attorney


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. 



VENTURA, Peter (W/M)

DC #   110277

DOB:   07/14/35


­­­Seventh Judicial Circuit, Volusia County, Case#86-2822-CC

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable R. Michael Hutchinson

Attorney, Trial: Ray Cass – Assistant Public Defender

Attorney, Direct Appeal: Thomas R. Mott – Private

Attorneys, Collateral Appeals:  Mark Gruber and DavidHendry – CCRC-M


Date of Offense: 04/15/81

Date of Sentence: 01/21/88


Circumstances of Offense:


Peter Ventura was convicted and sentenced to death for themurder of Robert Clemente.


Jerry Wright had taken out a key-man life insurance policyon Robert Clemente, his employee.  Wright had borrowed money from JackMcDonald and needed to repay the debt.  He asked McDonald to find someoneto kill Clemente, and then, Wright and McDonald would share the money from theinsurance policy in repayment of Wright’s debt to McDonald.  McDonaldarranged a meeting between Wright and Ventura, an acquaintance of McDonald’s,in Chicago.  Ventura agreed to kill Clemente for Wright and went to VolusiaCounty in 1981 to complete the job. 


On 04/15/81, Ventura, pretending to be a potential customer,contacted Clemente and arranged to meet him at the Barnett Bank inDeland.  He and Clemente drove to the site that Ventura had previouslychosen to murder the victim, and McDonald followed.  After shootingClemente, Ventura ran to where McDonald waited, and they drove to DaytonaBeach.  Ventura then received partial payment for his work and headed toAtlanta.  When he received more money, Ventura flew to California. 


Chicago postal authorities notified officials in VolusiaCounty about a contract murder involving McDonald, Wright, and Ventura. McDonald was arrested when he went to meet Wright.  McDonald acted as thestate’s key witness during Ventura’s trial.  On 06/25/81, Ventura wasarrested in Chicago and indicted on 06/30/81 for First-Degree Murder and Usinga Firearm during the Commission of a Felony.  He was bonded out of jailprior to extradition and did not appear for the extradition hearing on 08/18/81. Ventura eventually was arrested in Austin, Texas, because a coworker reportedthat Ventura had bragged to him about performing a contract murder in Florida.


Codefendant Information: 


Jerry Wright (Volusia County Circuit, Case #87-5320)


On 03/06/81, Wright was convicted of First-Degree Murder andsentenced to Life in prison for his involvement in the murder of RobertClemente on 04/15/81.


Jack McDonald


On 06/25/81, Jack McDonald was arrested for murder.  Afterfive months in jail, McDonald was released because of the lack of evidenceagainst him and due to a speedy trial rule violation.  McDonald agreed totestify against Ventura for the prosecution.


Trial Summary:


06/25/81          Ventura was arrested.

06/30/81          Ventura was indicted on the followingcounts:

                                    Count I:           First-DegreeMurder (Robert Clemente)

                                    Count II:         Usinga firearm in the Commission of a Felony

01/15/88          Ventura was found guilty for each count ofthe indictment.

01/19/88          Uponadvisory sentencing, the jury, by an 11 to 1 majority, voted for the deathpenalty.

01/21/88          Ventura was sentenced as follows:

                                    Count I:           First-DegreeMurder (Robert Clemente) – Death

Count II:         Usinga firearm in the Commission of a Felony – 30 months, less 629 days for timeserved


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC #71,975

560 So. 2d 217 (Fla. 1990)


02/19/88          Appeal filed.

04/05/90          FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence.

05/29/90          Rehearing denied.

06/28/90          Mandate issued.


United State Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC #90-5607

498 U.S. 951 (U.S. 1990)


08/27/90          Petition filed.

10/29/90          USSC denied the petition.

Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC #86-2822-CC


02/28/92          Motion filed.

04/16/92          Motion dismissed.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC #84,222

673 So. 2d 479 (Fla. 1996)


08/19/94          Appeal filed.

01/11/96          FSC reversed the 3.850 Denial and remandedthe case to the trial court.

04/25/96          Rehearing denied.

05/28/96          Mandate issued.


Circuit Court – 3.850 Appeal on Remand from FSC

CC #86-2822-CC


08/19/96          Amended 3.850 Motion filed.

07/01/98          Evidentiary Hearing held.

07/28/98          Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC #93,839

794 So. 2d 553 (Fla. 2001)


09/02/98          Appeal filed.

05/24/01          FSC affirmed the 3.850 Denial.

09/05/01          Rehearing denied.

10/05/01          Mandate issued.


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC #00-583

794 So. 2d 553 (Fla. 2001)


03/20/00          Petition filed.

05/24/01          Petition denied.

09/05/01          Rehearing denied.

10/05/01          Mandate issued.


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC #01-7125

122 S. Ct. 2296 (U.S. 2002)


11/28/01          Petition filed.

05/28/02          Petition denied.


United States District Court – Petition for Writ ofHabeas Corpus

USDC# 02-CV-1159


10/04/02          Petition filed.

07/30/04          Petition denied.


United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit – HabeasAppeal

USCA #04-14565

419 F.3d 1269


08/27/04          Appeal filed.

08/12/05          USCAaffirmed the denial of Ventura’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus.

09/08/05          Mandate issued.


Circuit Court – Successive 3.851 Motion

CC #86-2822-CC


10/22/07          Motion filed.

12/07/07          Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.851 Appeal

FSC #08-60

2 So.3d 194


01/10/08          Appeal filed.

01/29/09          Appeal denied.

02/18/09          Mandate issued.


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

USSC# 08-10098

129 S.Ct. 2839


04/16/09          Petition filed.

06/22/09          Petition denied.


Factors Contributing to the Delay in Execution ofSentence:


The 3.850 Motion was filed on 02/28/92 and dismissed on04/16/92.  The Florida Supreme Court reversed the 3.850 Denial andremanded the case to the Volusia County Circuit Court, which denied the motionon 07/28/98.  The 3.850 Denial was appealed to the Florida Supreme Court,who affirmed the 3.850 Denial more than two years later on 05/24/01.  Thisprocess took more than nine years.


Case Information:


Ventura filed his Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Courton 02/19/88.  The issues addressed included that the trial court erred innot investigating Ventura’s complaints about his assigned counsel and in notallowing Ventura to dismiss his counsel.   Ventura further contendedthat his death sentence violated the Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendmentsof the United States Constitution.  The Florida Supreme Court did not finderrors that warranted reversing the conviction or sentence and affirmed theconviction and sentence on 04/05/90.


On 08/27/90, Ventura filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorariin the United States Supreme Court.  The petition was denied on 10/29/90.


Ventura filed a 3.850 Motion in the Circuit Court on02/28/92.  The motion was dismissed on 04/16/92 because Ventura did notprovide a basis for the claims; the claims were procedurally barred, or theclaims should have been raised during the Direct Appeal.


On 08/19/94, Ventura filed a 3.850 Appeal in the FloridaSupreme Court.  The issues addressed included that the trial judge shouldnot have dismissed his 3.850 Motion and mishandled other relatedmotions.   The 3.850 Denial was reversed on 01/11/96 and remanded tothe trial court with instructions to allow Ventura to file an Amended 3.850Motion. 


Ventura filed an Amended 3.850 Motion on 08/19/96.  Themotion was denied on 07/28/98.


Ventura filed a 3.850 Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on09/02/98.  The issues addressed included that a Brady error[a] had occurred, counsel wasineffective, new evidence was found, and that mitigating and aggravatingfactors were mishandled.   The 3.850 Denial was affirmed on05/24/01. 


On 03/20/00, Ventura filed a Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus in the Florida Supreme Court. The petition was denied on 05/24/01. 


Ventura filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in theUnited States Supreme Court on 11/28/01.  The petition was denied on05/28/02.


Ventura filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in theUnited States District Court on 10/04/02.  The petition was denied on07/30/04.


On 08/27/04, Ventura filed a Habeas Appeal to the UnitedStates Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit.  The USCA affirmed the denial ofVentura’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on 08/12/05.


On 10/22/07, Ventura filed a successive 3.851 motion in theCircuit Court.  The motion was denied on 12/07/07.


On 01/10/08, Ventura filed a 3.851 Appeal in the FloridaSupreme Court.  On 01/29/09, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed theCircuit Court’s denial of the 3.851 Motion and denied his 3.851 Appeal.  On02/18/09, the Florida Supreme Court issued a mandate in accordance with theopinion rendered on 01/29/09.


On 04/16/09, Ventura filed a Petition for Writ ofCertiorari.  This petition was denied on 06/22/09.


Institutional Adjustment:


















Report Date:   03/18/02          S.Q.

Approved:       07/01/02          W.S.

Updated:         06/25/09          AEH


[a] Brady error: An error that occurs when the prosecutionwithholds information favorable