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Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
JamesEdward 969121CCRC-MCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
1/30/2006FSC06-4263.851 Appeal
1/24/2008FSC06-426Appeal Denied
2/11/2008FSC06-426Motion for rehearing
10/21/2008FSC06-426Rehearing denied

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 this informationregularly. This information, however, is subject to change and may not reflectthe latest status of an inmate’s case and should not be relied upon forstatistical or legal purposes.


JAMES, Edward (W/M)

DC #   969121

DOB: 08/04/61


Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, Seminole County Case # 93-3237

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Alan A. Dickey

TrialAttorneys: Gary Anderson and James Figgatt –Assistant Public Defenders

Attorneys, Direct Appeal: Michael S. Becker – AssistantPublic Defender

Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Carol Rodriguez & PeterCannon – CCRC-M


Date of Offense:        09/19/93

Date of Sentence:       08/18/95



Circumstances of the Offense:


Edward James attended a party on the evening of September19, 1993, at Todd Van Fossen’s house.  Jameslived approximately two blocks away in a room he rented from victim, BettyDick.  James was at the Van Fossen residencefrom approximately 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.  Van Fossen’sgirlfriend, Tina, reported that James appeared to be intoxicated, but Jamesdeclined to sleep at her residence when she offered.  James consumedbetween six and 24 beers, in addition to three “shotguns” (three beers funneledone after another).  James ran into Jere Pearsonshortly after leaving the party.  Pearson’s residence was near the party,and he was returning from a convenience store.  Pearson testified thatwhen he ran into James, James was en route to the residence of the victim’sson, Tim Dick.  Pearson and James conversed for about ten minutes, andPearson witnessed James take ten hits of acid, but said that James appeared tobe sober. 


James briefly visited with Tom Dick and his girlfriend,Nichole, but returned to his room at Betty Dick’s house after drinking somegin.  James noticed, upon entering the house that Betty Dick’s fourgrandchildren were sleeping in the living room.  Wendi, one of thegrandchildren, briefly awoke when James entered the house.  Wendi saidthat James appeared drunk and was laughing.  James made himself somethingto eat in the kitchen and then went to his room.  Later, he went back tothe living room and grabbed eight-year-old Toni Neuneraround the neck.  James strangled Toni and claimed he heard the bones popin her neck.  James assumed that Toni was dead, and he proceeded to haveboth vaginal and anal intercourse with her after removing her clothing in hisbedroom.  Toni did not resist or scream, and James threw Toni behind hisbed after the rape. 


James entered Betty Dick’s room with the intention of havingsexual intercourse with her.  James then hit the back of Betty’s head witha candlestick and Betty woke up screaming.  Betty’s screams woke Wendi Neuner who came to the doorway of her grandmother’s bedroomwhere she witnessed James using a small knife to stab Betty.  James sawWendi and he grabbed her and tied her up before putting her in thebathroom.  James did not think that Betty was dead, so he went to thekitchen to get a butcher knife and returned with the knife to stab Betty in theback.  James took off the bottoms of Betty’s pajamas, but did not sexuallybatter her.


James took a shower, with Wendi still in the bathroom, toremove the blood that covered him.  James then gathered some belongingsand clothes from his room and took Betty’s purse and jewelry bag from herroom.  James got in Betty’s car and drove across the country, stoppingoccasionally to sell some of Betty’s jewelry.  James was arrested inBakersfield, California, on October 6, 1993, and he then gave two confessionsthat were videotaped. 


The autopsy that was performed on Toni revealed that shedied as a result of strangulation, but was still alive at the time of therape.  The expert could not determine whether or not Toni was consciouswhile she was being raped. Betty was stabbed 21 times and died as a result ofmassive blood loss within a few minutes of the attack.


Experts opined that James suffers from drug and alcoholdependency and a psychiatrist determined that James has an addictivepersonality or a passive aggressive personality.  James could not rememberif he had taken LSD prior to committing the offenses, but an expert testifiedthat the ingestion of LSD could unmask an underlying psychologicalproblem.  





James was also tried and convicted of the following crimes(Case # 93-3499):


     Date                                     Offense                                  SentenceDate  Sentence


Armed Burglary


3 Years


Grand Theft Firearm


3 Years


Grand Theft Firearm


3 Years


Grand Theft Firearm


3 Years


Sexual Battery By Adult on Victim Under 12




Sexual Battery By Adult on Victim Under 12












Trial Summary:


10/19/93         Defendant indicted with the following:

Count I:          First-Degree Murder

           Count II:        First-Degree Murder

                       Count III:       Aggravated Child Abuse

CountIV:        Attempted SexualBattery/Threatened with a Deadly Weapon

CountV:         Kidnapping During theCommission of a Felony

CountVI:        Grand Theft

CountVII:      Grand Theft Auto

04/05/95         Defendant pled guilty to allcounts

06/05/95         The jury recommended Death by a vote of 11 to 1 for Counts I and II

08/18/95         Defendant was sentenced as follows:

Count I:          First-Degree Murder –Death

Count II:        First-Degree Murder – Death

                       Count III:        Aggravated Child Abuse –15 years

CountIV:        Attempted SexualBattery/Threatened with a Deadly Weapon – 15 years

CountV:         Kidnapping During theCommission of a Felony – Life sentence

CountVI:        Grand Theft – 5 years

CountVII:      Grand Theft Auto – 5 years



Appeal Summary:


Florida StateSupreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC #86,834

695 So. 2d 1229


11/09/95         Appeal filed.

04/24/97         FSC affirmed the convictions and the sentences of Death.

06/20/97         Rehearing denied.

07/21/97         Mandate issued.


United StatesSupreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC #97-6104

522 U.S. 1000


09/18/97         Petition filed.

12/01/97         USSC denied petition.




State Circuit Court– 3.850 Motion

CC #93-3237


05/27/98         Motion filed.

03/08/02         Motion amended.

04/11/03         Notice of Voluntary Dismissal filed

04/21/03         Circuit Court dismissed counsel and Motion

01/17/06         Circuit Court denied motion to resume postconvictionproceedings


Florida Supreme Court – Motion Appeal

FSC# 06-426


01/30/06         Appeal filed.

01/24/08         Appeal denied.

02/11/08         Motion for rehearing

10/21/08          Rehearingdenied



Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition ofSentence:


The 3.850 Motion was pending from 1998 until 2003. 



Case Information:


A Direct Appeal was filed on 11/09/95. Issues that wereraised included whether the trial court erred in failing to grant James’ motionfor mistrial based on the prosecutor’s improper comments during closingargument and whether the trial court erred in finding the heinous, atrocious,or cruel aggravator as to the murder of Toni Neuner. The Florida Supreme Court found all of these claims either without merit orharmless and affirmed the conviction and sentence of death on 04/24/97.


A Petition for Writ of Certiorari was filed with the UnitedStates Supreme Court on 09/18/97 and denied on 12/01/97. 


A 3.850 Motion was filed with the circuit court on 05/27/98and amended on 03/08/02.  On 04/11/03, James filed a Notice of VoluntaryDismissal and a Faretta hearing was held.  On04/21/03, the Circuit Court dismissed postconvictioncounsel and the 3.850 Motion.  On 01/17/06, the Circuit Court denied amotion to resume postconviction proceedings. 


An appeal of the Circuit Court’s 01/17/06 decision was filedwith the Florida Supreme Court on 01/30/06. This appeal was denied on 01/24/08.



Institutional Adjustment:





DATE    DAYS                  VIOLATION                                      LOCATION      

12/11/95    10                    DISRESP.TOOFFICIALS                FLORIDA STATE PRISON

12/01/97    20                    POSS OFCONTRABAND                UNION C. I.        



Report Date:  03/12/02          cc

Approved:      04/15/02          ws

Updated:        03/10/09          klh