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Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
ScottBradley 057405 Case Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
5/30/1991  Released

Current Attorney


Last Updated

2008-01-09 11:43:13.0

Case Summary
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The Commission on Capital Cases has complied this report using a varietyof sources

SCOTT, Bradley (W/M) 

DC # 057405  

DOB:  01/18/51     


Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Charlotte County, Case # 86-195CF A

Sentencing Judge:  The Honorable William C. McIver

Attorneys, Criminal Trial:  Leonard M. Johnson, Esq. & MarkCooper – APD   

Attorney, Direct Appeal:  Dennis J. Rehak, Esq. 


Date of Offense:         10/12/78    

Date of Sentence:       02/08/88   


Circumstances of Offense:


Bradley Scott was convicted and sentenced to death for the 10/12/78 murder of 12-year-old Linda Pikuritz.


On the afternoon of 10/12/78, Linda Pikuritz left her home in Charlotte County on her bicycle.  Witnesses testified they saw her riding aroundthe neighborhood and in the vicinity of the local “Lil' General” conveniencestore.  When Linda did not return home by 9:00 p.m. that evening, her sister,Deborah Bianchi, filed a missing persons report with the Charlotte CountySheriff’s Department.  At 11:00 p.m., authorities received a report of a brushfire approximately three miles from the convenience store where Linda was lastseen.  The body of a young female was discovered at the scene of the blaze and,upon forensic examination, was determined to be that of Linda Pikuritz.  Anautopsy revealed that a flammable substance had been poured over Linda’s bodyand that she had been set afire while still alive.  Smoke inhalation was thecause of death, and Linda was reportedly unconscious at the time of death. There was no evidence of sexual assault or any other injuries not consistentwith the fire.  Several of Linda’s personal items were found at the scene,including one tennis shoe, a pair of underpants, a package of bubble gum and abroken shell necklace.  The day following her murder, Linda’s bicycle was foundstashed in the brush just off the road from the “Lil’ General” conveniencestore.


The investigation into the murder of Linda Pikuritz quicklyfocused on Bradley Scott as the primary suspect; however, he was able toproduce an alibi that included details of his whereabouts on the night of 10/12/78.  Scott claimed that, on the evening in question, he and his girlfriend had goneto the Sarasota Mall and purchased a suede jacket from Foxmoor Casuals.  Scottwas, however, indicted for murder in 1986, seven years and seven months afterthe crime. 


The State based its entire case against Scott oncircumstantial evidence.  Scott was reportedly seen talking to Linda from hiscar near the convenience store and again later in the parking lot of theconvenience store.  Their conversation appeared to be friendly and non-threatening. A classmate of Linda Pikuritz testified that she and Linda had met Scott atthat convenience store many times prior to the murder.  This classmate reportedthat Scott would occasionally buy the girls beer and smoke marijuana withthem.  Another friend of Linda Pikuritz confirmed that the girls flirted withother older men who bought them beer.  Another witness reportedly saw twopeople, who matched the descriptions of Linda and Scott, talking to one anotherclose to the location where Linda’s bicycle was found the day after her murder.


Additionally, Scott’s employer and his employer’s wiferecalled statements that Scott made the day after Linda’s murder.  Whentelephoning about his paycheck, Scott reportedly asked his employer’s wife ifshe had “heard about the little girl that had been murdered by [her] house.” She asked Scott where he had gotten said information, and Scott replied that hehad been stopped by a police roadblock the night before.  At trial, it wasrevealed that Scott had actually had the aforementioned conversation with hisemployer’s neighbor and that she had, in turn, relayed the information toScott’s employer’s wife.  There was additional controversy over whether Scotthad driven his employer and a co-worker to the site where he claimed he wasstopped by a police roadblock.  The State provided evidence that there was nosuch roadblock at the location identified by Scott’s employer, and that Scotthad, in fact, lied about how he found out about the murder.  Seven years afterthe murder, Scott’s employer could not remember whether Scott had taken him tothe site of the roadblock.  Further examination of Scott’s employer’s testimonyrevealed several inconsistencies between what he said at trial and his earlierstatements. 


Regarding the physical evidence, the State presented hairsamples that had been forcibly removed and a seashell, which were found inScott’s car approximately one year after Linda Pikuritz’s murder. Investigators recovered Scott’s car from a used car dealership, where it hadbeen sitting for four months since Scott sold it to them.  Investigatorsretrieved the aforementioned hair samples by vacuuming Scott’s car; however, nohair samples had been taken from the victim for comparison.  Five years afterher murder, investigators were able to obtain two hair samples from a wool skicap that belonged to Linda Pikuritz.  At trial, one expert opined that thehairs obtained from Scott’s car were indistinguishable from the hairs takenfrom the ski cap, matching in all characteristics to Linda Pikuritz’s.  Anotherexpert countered that positive hair identification was impossible and that anideal comparison amount was between 15 and 20 hairs, not the two hairs used inthe instant case.  A small seashell was also found in Scott’s car.  LindaPikuritz was wearing a shell necklace on the night of her murder, which wasfound broken at the scene.  The State sought to prove the shell from Scott’scar was from Linda’s broken necklace; however, Scott’s mother testified thatshe had used Scott’s car many times to transport shells and, on occasion, someof the shells spilled or toppled over onto the car’s floor.


At the conclusion of the guilt phase of the trial, Scottmoved for an acquittal based on the circumstantialities of the evidence,arguing that the State had not proven their case beyond a reasonable hypothesisof innocence.  Scott was convicted of the First-Degree Murder of Linda Pikuritzand sentenced to death.


Prior Record:







Hillsborough County

I.  Burglary




II.  Petit Larceny




III.  Vehicle Theft



Hillsborough County

I.  Possession of Stolen Property



Vero Beach

I.  Vehicle Theft

6 Months in Co. Jail


Indian River

I.  Probation Violation



Hillsborough County

I.  Aggravated Assault

Disposition Unknown



II.  Aggravated Assault



Pasco County

I.  Damage Property

Disposition Unknown



II.  Trespassing After Warning



Hillsborough County

I.  Delivery of Barbiturates

18 Months



II.  Violation of Drug Abuse Law




III.  Receiving Stolen Property



Desoto County

I.  Aggravated Assault

1 Year



II.  Strong Arm Rape



Lake Worth

I.  Petit Theft

6 Months Probation


Palm Beach County




Palm Beach County





I.  Solicitation of Prostitution

Disposition Unknown



Trial Summary:


05/29/86          Defendant arrested.

06/09/86          Defendant indicted on the following:

                                    Count I:  First-DegreeMurder

03/16/87          Motion for change of venue.

06/30/87          Motion for change of venue denied.

01/28/88          The defendant was found guilty of First-Degree Murder, as charged in theindictment.

01/29/88          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by an 8 to 4 majority, voted for the death penalty.

02/08/88          The defendant was sentenced as followed:

                                    CountI:  First-Degree Murder – Death


05/30/91          UponDirect Appeal, the Florida Supreme Court reversed the conviction, vacated thedeath sentence, and remanded with instructions for the trial court to enter anorder of acquittal on the grounds of a violation of due process.


Appellate Summary:


Florida Supreme Court, Direct Appeal

FSC # 72,091

581 So. 2d 887


03/14/88          Appeal filed.

05/30/91          FSC reversed the convictions and vacated the death sentence, withinstructions to the trial court to enter an order of acquittal.

07/26/91          Rehearing denied.


Case Information:


Scott filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 03/14/88.  Scott raised seven issues on appeal; however, the Florida Supreme Court focusedits discussion on the effects that the seven-year, seven-month indictment delayhad on Scott’s due process rights and the circumstantial evidence upon whichScott’s conviction was based.  Rogers vs. State (511 So. 2d 526(Fla.1987)) dictated:


When a defendant asserts a due process violationbased on pre-indictment delay, he bears the initial burden of showing actualprejudice . . . .  If the defendant meets this initial burden, the court mustthen balance the demonstrable reasons for delay against the gravity of theparticular prejudice on a case-by-case basis.  The outcome turns on whether thedelay violates the fundamental conception of justice, decency, and fair play embodiedin the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment.


In attempting to show the prejudice that the seven-yeardelay caused, Scott pointed out that the evidence that could have verified hisalibi was lost or no longer available.  Scott’s argument focused on his claimthat he and his girlfriend had gone to the Sarasota Mall and purchased a suedejacket from Foxmoor Casuals.  Specifically, Scott claimed that the salesreceipts from Foxmoor Casuals could have proven the purchase of the leatherjacket and that the work schedule of Sambo’s Restaurant could have proven thathis girlfriend had the night off from work.  By the time of the trial, all suchrecords were lost or unavailable.  Other investigative police reportsconcerning the alibi were also missing.  The initial investigating officersdid, however, testify that the alibi had checked out in 1978-79 and the StateAttorney’s Office refused to indict at that time because of the alibi.


Scott also claimed that he was denied the chance to presentevidence that Phillip Drake, another police suspect and marijuana dealer to thevictim, could have killed Linda Pikuritz.  Two witnesses who could have placedPhillip Drake’s car in close proximity to the murder scene died prior toScott’s indictment. 


Scott also raised many questions regarding the reliabilityof the hair analysis.  He pointed out that there was a five-year delay inobtaining a hair sample from the victim, and even when a hair sample becameavailable, it was much less than the ideal sample amount.


In examining Scott’s claims, the Florida Supreme Courtopined:


…that the seven-year delay, sevenmonth delay in the prosecution of this cause [violated] the due process clauseof the fourteenth amendment and that the state [was not] able to show that thecircumstantial evidence in this cause [was] not only consistent with thedefendant guilt but also inconsistent with any reasonable hypothesis ofinnocence.


The Florida Supreme Court reversed Scott’s convictions,vacated his death sentence and remanded with instructions to the trial court toenter an order of acquittal. 


Law Enforcement/ Prosecution Statements:


A letter requesting comment was sent to the Charlotte CountySheriff’s Department on 05/01/02.  No response has been received to date.


Assistant State Attorney Dean Plattner of the 20thCircuit issued the following statement regarding the Scott case:


Mr. Scott wasprosecuted because we felt that the evidence proved his guilt.  Despite thevery high burden involved in proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, a jury of12 citizens believed we had met our burden and convicted him.  The same juryrecommended the death penalty.  A trial judge heard the evidence and also feltit was legally sufficient to support the conviction, and the judge also acceptedthe jury recommendation and imposed the death penalty.


The Supreme Court reversed the conviction based on alegal issue (pre-indictment delay), and their view that the circumstantialevidence did not support the conviction (appeals courts do not usually re-weighthe evidence like this, as that's normally the province of the jury, but theydid so in this case).  The court obviously has the power and authority to makethis ruling, but we respectfully disagree with the reasoning.  No one else hasbeen prosecuted for this murder, nor really any evidence developed pointing toanyone else.  We still believe the correct person was prosecuted, but obviouslyaccept and abide by the court's ruling.


Defense Statements:


A letter requesting comment was sent to defense attorneyDennis Rehak, Esq. on 05/06/02.  No response has been received to date.


Defense Attorney Leonard Johnsonwas contacted on 05/13/02 and is preparing a comment on the case, although nocomment has been received to date.


Current Status:


According to NCIC, Bradley Scotthas had no arrests subsequent to release.



Report Date:   03/07/02          ew

Approved:       03/13/02          ws

Updated:         05/29/02          ew