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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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
KelleyWilliam 093417PrivateCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
10/13/2009USSC 09-53Petition denied
6/10/2008FSC08-1083Habeas filed
7/24/2008FSC08-1083Response filed
9/3/2008FSC08-1083Reply brief filed
1/22/2009FSC08-1083Habeas Petition denied
2/6/2009FSC08-1083Motion for Rehearing filed
2/25/2009FSC08-1083Rehearing denied
3/27/2008FSC08-6083.851 Appeal filed
6/10/2008FSC08-608Initial brief filed
7/24/2008FSC08-608Answer brief filed
9/3/2008FSC08-608Reply brief filed
1/22/2009FSC08-6083.851 Appeal denied
2/6/2009FSC08-608Motion for Rehearing filed
2/25/2009FSC08-608Rehearing denied
3/13/2009FSC08-608Mandate issued
7/10/2009USSC09-53Petition for Writ of Certiorari filed
9/10/2009USSC09-53Response brief filed
9/29/2009USSC09-53Reply brief filed
5/9/2007CCCR81-5353.851 motion filed
12/21/2007CCCR81-5353.851 motion denied
1/4/2008CCCR81-535Motion for Rehearing filed
2/5/2008CCCR81-535Rehearing denied

Current Attorney


Last Updated

2008-01-09 11:43:13.0

Case Summary
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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. 


KELLEY, William Harold (W/M)

DC#    093417

DOB:  12/08/42


­­­Tenth Judicial Circuit, Highlands County Case# CR81-535

Sentencing Judge:  The Honorable E. Randolph Bentley,Jr.

Attorney, Trial:  William Kunstler,Jack Edmund – Assistant Public Defender

Attorney, Direct Appeal:  Barry Haight,Donald Ferguson – Private

Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Christine R. Davis &David Loftis – Private


Date of Offense:  10/03/66

Date of Sentence:  04/02/84


Circumstances of the Offense:


William Harold Kelley was convicted of the murder of CharlesVon Maxcy.  He was hired to kill him by CharlesVon Maxcy’s wife, Irene Von Maxcyand her lover, John Sweet.  On 10/03/66, Charles Von Maxcywas fatally stabbed and shot in his residence by Kelley. Irene Von Maxcy and Sweet planned to live together off of thevictim’s inheritance, which was over a million dollars.


After Sweet was released due to insufficient evidence, thecase remained dormant for over 10 years.  In 1981, Sweet became involvedin illegal mob activity in Massachusetts.  Upon being questioned by thepolice, Sweet offered testimony on the murder of Von Maxcyin return for immunity. Kelley’s prosecution was based mainly on thistestimony.


Kelley’s first trial ended in a mistrial because the jurywas unable to reach a verdict.  Kelley’s second trial began in March of1984 and resulted in a guilty verdict on first-degree murder, with arecommendation for the death penalty.


Codefendant Information:


Sweet was originally indicted and tried for the murder ofCharles Von Maxcy.  His first trial ended in amistrial.  In the second trial, he was convicted and sentenced to lifeimprisonment.  Irene Von Maxcy later recantedher testimony regarding Sweet’s involvement in the murder, and Sweet’s sentencewas reversed on appeal.  Irene Von Maxcy servedfour and a half years for perjury. 


Trial Summary:


12/16/81         Indicted as follows:

                                   Count I:          First-Degree Murder (Charles Von Maxcy)   

03/30/84         Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment.

04/02/84         Jury recommended death by a vote of 8-4.

04/02/84         Sentenced as follows:

                                   Count I:          First-Degree Murder (Charles Von Maxcy) – Death


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 65,134

486 So.2d 578 (Fla. 1986)


04/02/84         Appeal filed

04/10/86         FSC affirmed the convictions and sentence

05/19/86         Mandate issued


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC# 86-106

486 So 2d 578


07/09/86         Petition filed

10/06/86         Petition denied


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# CR81-535


11/30/87         Motion filed

09/06/88         Motion denied


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC# 73,088

569 So. 2d 754 (Fla. 1990)


09/08/88         Appeal filed

09/06/90         Denial of 3.850 affirmed


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 77,708

597 So. 2d 262 (Fla. 1992)


04/08/91         Petition filed     

03/12/92         Petition denied

05/26/92         Rehearing denied


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

USDC# 92-14246

222 F. Supp.2d 1357 (2002)


10/02/92         Petition filed

09/19/02         Petition granted, remanded for retrial


United States Court of Appeals – Petition for Writ ofHabeas Corpus Appeal

USCA# 03-10513

377 F.3d 1317


08/15/03         Appeal filed

06/23/04         Reversed USDC’s decision granting Habeas petition


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 03-1903

874 So.2d 1192 (Fla. 2004)


10/24/03         Petition filed

05/04/04         Petition denied


State Circuit Court – 3.853 Motion(DNA)

CC# CR81-535


01/18/06         Motion filed

06/06/06         Evidentiary hearing held

06/29/06         Order denying Kelley’s 3.853 Motion.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.853 Appeal

FSC# 06-1574

974 So.2d 1047


08/08/06         Appeal filed

10/25/07         Denial affirmed

11/09/07         Motion for Rehearing filed

02/04/08         Rehearing denied

02/20/08         Mandate issued


State Circuit Court – 3.851 Motion

CC# CR81-535


05/09/07         Motion filed

12/20/07         Motion denied

01/04/08         Motion for Rehearing filed

02/05/08         Rehearing denied


Florida Supreme Court – 3.851 Appeal

FSC# 08-608

3 So.3d 970


03/27/08         Appeal filed

01/22/09         Disposition affirmed, Appeal denied

02/06/09         Motion for Rehearing filed

02/25/09         Rehearing denied

03/13/09         Mandate issued


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 08-1083

3 So.3d 970


06/10/08         Petition filed

01/22/09         Petition denied

02/06/09         Motion for Rehearing filed

02/25/09         Rehearing denied


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC# 09-53

130 S.Ct.397


07/17/09         Petition filed

10/13/09         Petition denied


Clemency Hearing:


02/10/88         Denied


Factors Contributing to Delay in the Imposition of theSentence:


It took approximately ten years for the United StatesDistrict Court to grant Kelley’s Habeas petition.  The delay was due toKelley’s abundant amount of hearings, three changes of attorney and motions toextend time.



Case Information:


Kelley filed his Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Courton 04/02/84.  Kelley contended that evidence that could have been used inhis defense was destroyed five years before his indictment which violated hisdue procedural rights.  Error occurred in allowing a witness to testifyabout an alleged conversation, failing to answer a question addressed to thecourt by the jury during its deliberations, and violating his sixth amendmentright of effective assistance of counsel.  Kelly also contended improperinstruction to jurors regarding note-taking, violations of his Miranda rightsand that misleading comments were made by the judge during jurors’ deadlockinstructions.  The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the conviction andsentence on 04/10/86. 


On 07/09/86, Kelley filed a petition for Writ of Certiorarito the United States Supreme Court.  The petition was denied on 10/06/86.


Kelley filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court on11/30/87.  On 09/06/88, the motion was denied.


On 09/08/88, Kelley filed a 3.850 Appeal to the FloridaSupreme Court, which was denied on 09/06/90.


On 04/08/91, a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus was filedto the Florida Supreme Court.  On 03/12/92, the petition was denied. A motion for rehearing was denied on 05/26/92.


On 10/02/92, a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus was filedto the United States District Court, Southern District.  The petition wasgranted because of numerous nondisclosures of material and exculpatory evidenceby the state which was needed to establish Brady violations.  Thecumulative effect of the Brady violations prejudiced Kelley and warranted a newtrial.  On 09/19/02, the petition was granted and the case was remandedfor a new trial.


On 08/15/03, the State appealed the decision of the UnitedStates District Court to the United States Court of Appeals.  The Courtheld that the failure to disclose certain documents did not violate Brady,individually or cumulatively, and therefore reversed the United States DistrictCourt’s decision granting habeas petition on 07/23/04.


On 10/24/03, a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus was filedto the Florida Supreme Court. The petition was denied on 05/04/04.


On 01/19/06, Kelley filed a 3.853 Motion (DNA) to theCircuit Court.  The evidentiary hearing was held on 06/06/06.  On06/29/06, the lower court issued an order, denying Kelley’s 3.853 Motion.


On 08/08/06, Kelley filed a 3.853 Appeal to the FloridaSupreme Court.  On 10/25/07, the Florida Supreme Court issued an opinionaffirming the circuit court’s denial of Kelley’s motion for postconvictionDNA testing.  Kelley filed a Motion for Rehearing in the Florida SupremeCourt on 11/09/07 which was denied on 02/04/08.  On 02/20/08, the FloridaSupreme Court issued a mandate commanding proceedings be had in accordance withthe 10/25/07 opinion.


On 05/09/07, Kelley filed a 3.851 Motion in the StateCircuit Court.  This motion was denied on 12/20/07.  On 01/04/08,Kelley filed a Motion for Rehearing, which was denied on 02/05/08.


On 03/27/08, Kelley filed a 3.851 Appeal to the FloridaSupreme Court.  On 01/22/09, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed thedisposition of the lower court and denied the appeal.  On 02/06/09, Kelleyfiled a Motion for Rehearing, which was denied on 02/25/09.  The FloridaSupreme Court issued a mandate in this case on 03/13/09.


On 06/10/08, Kelley filed a Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus in the Florida Supreme Court.  On 01/22/09, the Florida SupremeCourt denied the Habeas Petition.  On 02/06/09, Kelley filed a Motion forRehearing, which was denied on 02/25/09.


On 07/10/09, Kelly filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorariin the United States Supreme Court. This petition was denied on 10/13/09.




Report Date:  10/08/04          DDK

Approved:      10/08/04          JFL

Updated:         02/02/10         EMJ