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
PeterkaDaniel 119773RegistryCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
5/25/2007USCA07-12363PHabeas appeal filed
9/2/2008USCA07-12363PDisposition affirmed; Habeas appeal denied
8/1/2008FSC08-14133.851 appeal filed
12/11/2008FSC08-1413Initial brief filed
1/20/2009FSC08-1413Answer brief filed
3/5/2009FSC08-1413Reply brief filed
5/22/2009FSC08-1413Disposition affirmed
6/8/2009FSC08-1413Motion for rehearing filed
7/23/2009FSC08-1413Rehearing denied
11/10/2008USSC08-7335Petition for Writ of Certiorari
1/26/2009USSC08-7335Petition denied
12/15/2009USSC09-8971Petition for Writ of Certiorari
4/26/2010FSC10-801Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
11/15/2010FSC10-801Appeal Denied
11/22/2010FSC10-801Motion for Rehearing
2/21/2011FSC10-801Rehearing Denied
3/10/2008CC89-966C3.851 motion filed
3/17/2008CC89-966CState's Response filed
7/1/2008CC89-966C3.851 Motion denied
7/25/2008CC89-966CSuccessive 3.851 motion filed
8/11/2008CC89-966CState's response filed
9/23/2008CC89-966CReply to response filed
11/19/2008CC89-966C3.851 Motion denied
11/30/2010CC89-966CSuccessive 3.851 Motion
12/1/2010CC89-966CState's Reponse to 3.851 Motion

Current Attorney

Last NameFirst NameCityAddressZipPhoneEMail
McDermottLinda M.Wilton Manors, FL1141 N.E. 30th St.33334-850/322-2172Email


Last NameCase NumberJudgeCountyCCRCOrder DateContract Date
McDermott89 CF 966BarronOkaloosaNorth-P8/12/20033/1/2004

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 change and maynot reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not be relied uponfor statistical or legal purposes.


PETERKA, Daniel Jon (W/M)

DC#    119773

DOB:  09/09/67


First Judicial Circuit, Okaloosa County, Case# 89-966C

Sentencing Judge:  The Honorable Erwin Fleet

Trial Attorney:  Robert Elmore – Assistant PublicDefender

Attorney, Direct Appeal:  David A. Davis – AssistantPublic Defender

Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Linda McDermott –Registry


Date of Offense:  07/12/89

Date of Sentence:  04/25/90


Circumstances of the Offense:


On 02/11/89, Daniel Jon Peterka was scheduled to report toauthorities in Nebraska to begin serving two consecutive one-year prison termsfor theft. Prior to surrendering, Peterka revealed to his girlfriend at thetime that he did not want to go to jail and that he wanted to get a job andestablish himself somewhere else. Peterka appeared in Niceville, Florida, inlate February 1989. He moved in with Ronald LeCompte. LeCompte bought a .357magnum handgun for Peterka as a favor.


In April of 1989, Peterka moved to a duplex that he sharedwith John Russell. Witnesses stated that the two did not have a goodrelationship. On 06/27/89, Peterka acquired a driver’s license with Russell’sname and his own picture. He then cashed a $300 money order sent to Russell bya relative. When Russell realized that he had not received the money order, hebecame suspicious of Peterka. Russell obtained a copy of the money order from arelative and related his suspicions to the bank. A bank employee, in turn,stated that a formal charge of forgery could begin only when the original copyof the money order was received. A number of witnesses testified that Russelldid not plan on confronting Peterka about the missing money order because hewas uncomfortable due to the gun being in the house.


Peterka’s girlfriend, Frances Thompson, stated that Russellhelped her move her belongings out of the duplex on the morning of 07/12/89.According to Thompson, on the night on 07/12/89, Peterka appeared at Thompson’sjob driving Russell’s car. He took Thompson out to dinner and explained that hewas a fugitive and that he did not want go to prison. Frances stayed the nightat the duplex and then left for work the next morning. Russell did not show upfor work on the morning of 07/13/89. A co-worker, Gary Johnson, went to theduplex around 9:00 a.m. and stated that he saw Russell’s car in the driveway.Concerned about Russell, the coworker let himself into the duplex via a windowwhen no one answered the door. He noticed that the cushions from the couch weremissing and, after locating the gun, noted that it was unloaded. He returnedafter work and questioned Peterka about Russell. Peterka denied any knowledgeof Russell’s whereabouts, stating only that he had left with someone the nightbefore. Johnson filed a missing person report with the Okaloosa CountySheriff’s Department that night.


Deputy Harkins went to the duplex to follow up on thereport. Peterka again reiterated that he did not know where Russell was,stating only that he had left with “a long haired guy” the night before.Peterka gave Deputy Harkins a birth certificate as identification, stating thathe had lost his driver’s license.


Deputy Harkins ran a computer check on Peterka and learnedthat he was a fugitive from Nebraska and was considered “armed and dangerous.”Peterka was arrested on 07/14/89, at 1:30 a.m. The deputies searched the duplexand found the gun. Peterka told the deputies that the gun belonged to a friendand showed them the bill of sale. The gun was not confiscated. The deputiesfound a driver’s license with Peterka’s picture and Russell’s name, Russell’sSocial Security card, other identification belonging to Russell, $407, anewspaper clipping advertising jobs in Alaska, and Peterka’s Nebraska driver’slicense in Peterka’s wallet.


Peterka phoned Frances Thompson from jail and asked her toremove some items from the duplex and save them. Frances found a shovel in thetrunk of the victim’s car and noticed that the cushions for the couch wereoutside. She called the Sheriff’s Department and reported her findings. The gunwas transferred to the deputies’ possession and a police search revealedpossible bloodstains on the couch were the cushions had been and on the carpetbeneath the couch. Bloodstains were also found in the trunk of the car and onthe tail lights.


On 07/18/89, Peterka called his boss, “Shorty” Purvis, andasked him to visit him in jail. During their meeting, Peterka admitted killingRussell. Peterka told police that he had forged Russell’s signature on themoney order and that he had paid Russell $100 to use his identification. Whendiscussing the money order, Russell started shoving Peterak and the two endedup fighting in the living room. Both reached for the gun, and Peterka won. AsRussell got up from the couch, the gun accidentally went off and shot Russellin the top of the head. Peterka wrapped Russell’s body in a rug and drove himto a remote part of Eglin Air Force Base and buried him in a shallow grave.


Peterka took officials to the body. The medical examinertestified that the wound was consistent with the victim being shot from behindwhile he was in a reclining position. A firearms expert testified that the gunused to kill Russell was in good working order and that it would not fireaccidentally, due to the fact that the gun had two safety mechanisms.


Trial Summary:


08/10/89         Indicted as follows:

CountI:           First-DegreeMurder (John Russell)

08/28/89         Defendant entered a written plea of not guilty

03/05/90         Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment

03/05/90         Jury recommended death by a vote of 8-4

04/25/90         Sentenced as follows:

CountI:           First-DegreeMurder (John Russell) – Death


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 75,995

640 So. 2d 59


05/14/90         Appeal filed

04/21/94         FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence

08/05/94         Rehearing denied

09/06/94         Mandate issued


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC# 94-6845

513 U.S. 1129


11/02/94         Petition filed

01/23/95         Petition denied


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# 89-966C


03/24/97         Motion filed

05/02/02         Motion denied


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC# 02-1410

890 So.2d 219


06/26/02         Appeal filed

09/30/04         FSC affirmed denial of 3.850 Motion

Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 03-482

890 So.2d 219


03/21/03         Petition filed

09/30/04         Petition denied


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

USDC# 05-22


01/25/05         Petition filed

02/04/05         Amended petition filed

03/29/07         Habeas denied


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC# 04-9605

125 S.Ct. 2911


03/21/05         Petition filed

06/13/05         Petition denied


United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit – HabeasAppeal

USCA# 07-12363P


05/25/07         Appeal filed

09/02/08         Disposition affirmed


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# 89-966C


03/10/08         Motion filed

07/01/08         Motion denied


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# 89-966C


07/25/08         Motion filed

11/19/08         Motion denied


Florida Supreme Court – 3.851 Motion Appeal

FSC# 08-1413


08/01/08         Appeal filed

05/22/09         Disposition affirmed

06/08/09         Motion for Rehearing filed

07/23/09         Motion for rehearing denied


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC# 08-7335


11/10/08         Petition filed

01/26/09         Petition denied


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC # 09-8971


12/15/09         Petition filed

04/05/10         Petition denied


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 10-801


04/26/10         Petition filed

11/15/10         Petition denied

11/22/10         Motion for Rehearing


Circuit Court – Successive 3.851 Motion

CC# 89-966C



11/30/10         Motion filed




Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition ofSentence:


The Direct Appeal was pending for four years and the 3.850Motion was pending for five years until both decisions were rendered.


Case Information:


Peterka filed a Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Courton 05/14/90. He raised 12 issues on the appeal pertaining to pretrial motions,evidence admitted at trial, and factors relating to mitigation and aggravation.The Court found no merit, no abuse of discretion, or no error with each of theissues. The Court affirmed the conviction and sentence of death on 04/21/94.The rehearing was denied on 08/05/94, and the mandate was issued on 09/06/94.


Peterka filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the UnitedStates Supreme Court on 11/02/94. The petition was denied on 01/23/95.


Peterka filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court on03/24/97. The motion was pending for five years due to public records issues.On 05/02/02, the Circuit Court denied Peterka’s 3.850 Motion.


Peterka filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on06/26/02, which was affirmed on 09/30/04.


Peterka filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to theFlorida Supreme Court on 03/21/03, which was denied on 09/30/04.


On 01/25/05, Peterka filed a Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus to the United States District Court, Northern District.  Thepetition was amended on 02/04/05 and then denied on 03/29/07.


On 03/21/05, Peterka filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorarito the United States Supreme Court, which was denied on 06/30/05.


On 05/27/05, Peterka filed a Habeas Appeal in the UnitedStates Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit.  This appeal was denied on09/02/08.


On 03/10/08, Peterka filed a 3.851 motion in the StateCircuit Court.  This motion was denied on 07/01/08.


On 07/25/08, Peterka filed a 3.851 motion in the StateCircuit Court, which was denied on 11/19/08.


On 08/01/08, Peterka filed a 3.851 motion appeal in theFlorida Supreme Court.  On 05/22/09, the Florida Supreme Court affirmedthe disposition of the lower court and denied Peterka his appeal. On 06/08/09,Peterka filed a Motion for Rehearing. This motion was denied on 07/23/09.


Peterka filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to theUnited States Supreme Court on 11/10/08. This petition was denied on 01/26/09.


Peterka filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to theUnited States Supreme Court on 12/15/09.  This petition was denied on04/05/10.


On 04/26/10, Peterka filed a Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus to the Florida Supreme Court.  This petition was denied on11/15/10.  A Motion for Rehearing was filed on 11/22/10.  This motionis currently pending.


On 11/30/10, Peterka filed a Successive 3.851 Motion to theCircuit Court.  This motion is still pending.                                                     




Report Date:     02/20/02         NMP

Approved:        03/01/02         WS

Updated:         01/26/11          CAR