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.

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Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
GudinasThomas 379799CCRC-MCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
10/15/2002USDC06-357Habeas Corpus filed
6/25/2007FSC07-11703.850 Appeal
2/22/2008FSC07-1170Supplemental Reply
10/19/2010USCA10-14921Habeas appeal filed

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. 


GUDINAS, Thomas L. (W/M)

DC#    379799

DOB:   02/27/74


Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange County Case # 94-7132

Venue changed to Collier County (Case# 95-850)

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable BelvinPerry, Jr.

Attorney, Trial: Michael Irwin & Robert LeBlanc –Private

Attorney, Direct Appeal: Christopher Quarles – AssistantPublic Defender

Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Eric Pinkard& David Gemmer – CCRC-M


Date ofOffense:          05/24/94         

Date of Sentence:        06/16/95


Circumstances of Offense:


Thomas Gudinas and three of hisroommates arrived at an Orlando bar, Barbarella’s,between approximately 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. on 05/23/94.  Prior to arrivingat the bar, the group drank beer and smoked marijuana at their apartment and inthe car on the way to the bar.  While drinking throughout the night, thegroup periodically returned to the car to smoke marijuana.  When the bar closedat 3:00 a.m., Gudinas could not be located.  Oneof Gudinas’ roommates testified that he last saw Gudinas at approximately 1:00 a.m. 


Rachelle Smith and her fiancé arrived at Barbarella’sbetween 11:00 and 11:30 p.m. on 05/23/94.  When they left the bar at approximately2:00 a.m., Smith went to the wrong parking lot, where she saw a man lateridentified as Gudinas, watching her while crouchedbehind another car.  Realizing she was in the wrong parking lot, Smithwalked to the correct parking lot and found her car.  Smith sensed she wasbeing followed, so she immediately entered the car and locked the doors. The same man who was watching Smith earlier tried to open her passenger door, then tried to smash the driver’s side window, screaming “Iwant to f___ you.”  Smith blew her car horn and the man left.  Smithlater identified Gudinas in a police photo lineup asthe man who tried to attack her.   


Michelle McGrath was last seen at Barbarella’sat approximately 2:45 a.m.  She left her car in the same parking lot whereSmith initially saw Gudinas.  McGrath’s body wasdiscovered on 05/24/94 in an alley next to Pace School by an employee of theschool.  Her time of death was estimated to have been between 3:00 and5:00 a.m.  McGrath’s body was naked, except for a bra which was pushed upabove her breasts.  Her body had several blunt force traumas to the headand evidence of sexual assault.  The body also had trauma to the cervixand rectum, which was determined to have resulted from the insertion of foreignobjects into her body.  Semen was found inside McGrath’s vagina and on herthigh. 

Prior to finding McGrath’s body in the alley beside PaceSchool, Jane Brand, an employee of the Pace School, came upon a man inside thegates of the school.  After being told to leave the school grounds, theman jumped the fence and ended up in the alley.  Brand looked in the alleyand found McGrath’s body.  Brand later identified the man as Gudinas. 


All of Gudinas’ roommatestestified that he was not at their apartment when they returned from Barbarella’s.  They also testified that Gudinas was later seen with blood on his underwear andscratches on his knuckles.  Gudinas attributedhis wounds to a fight with two black men who tried to rob him.  Tworoommates further testified that when asked if McGrath was a “good f___,” Gudinas replied, “I killed her then I f___edher.” 


Additional Information:


As a juvenile, Gudinas had severalfelony convictions in the State of Massachusetts in the early 1990’s: Burglaryof an Automobile, Assault, Theft, Assault with Intentto Rape, Indecent Assault and Battery, Assault and Battery. 


Trial Summary:


07/15/94         Indicted as follows in Orange County:

CountI            AttemptedBurglary with an Assault

CountII          Attempted SexualBattery

CountIII         Sexual Battery

CountIV         Sexual Battery

CountV          First-Degree Murder

10/07/94         Venue changed from Orange County to Collier County

05/04/95         Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment

05/10/95         Jury recommended death by a vote of 10-2

06/16/95         Sentenced as follows:

CountI            AttemptedBurglary with an Assault – 30 Years

CountII          Attempted SexualBattery – 30 Years

CountIII         Sexual Battery – LifeImprisonment

CountIV         Sexual Battery – LifeImprisonment

CountV          First-Degree Murder –Death


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 86,070

693 So.2d 953


07/17/95         Appeal filed

04/10/97         FSC affirmed convictions and sentences

05/20/97         Rehearing denied

06/19/97         Mandate issued


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

USSC# 97-5684

522 U.S. 936


08/18/97         Petition filed

10/20/97         USSC denied Petition


Circuit Court, Ninth Circuit – 3.850 Motion

CC# 94-7132


06/05/98         Motion filed

07/19/99         Motion amended

09/30/99         Motion amended

03/20/00         Circuit Court denied Motion


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Motion Appeal

FSC# 00-954

816 So.2d 1095


05/01/00         Appeal filed

03/28/02         FSC affirmed denial of 3.850 Motion

05/07/02         Rehearing denied

06/06/02         Mandate issued


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 00-2495

816 So.2d 1095


12/01/00         Petition filed

03/28/02         FSC denied Petition

05/07/02         Rehearing denied

06/06/02         Mandate issued


Circuit Court, Ninth Circuit – 3.851 Motion

CC# 94-7132


10/14/02         Motion filed

01/16/03         Circuit Court denied Motion


U.S. District Court, Middle District – Petition forWrit of Habeas Corpus

USDC# 06-357


10/15/02         Petition filed

01/10/05         Petition amended

09/30/10          Petitiondenied


Florida Supreme Court – 3.851 Motion Appeal

FSC# 03-416

879 So.2d 616


03/05/03         Appeal filed

05/13/04         FSC affirmed denial of 3.851 Motion

07/29/04         Rehearing denied

08/30/04         Mandate issued


United StatesCourt of Appeals, 11th Circuit – Habeas Appeal

USCA# 10-14921



10/19/10          Appealfiled


Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition ofSentence:


The case progression appears to be within acceptable timeparameters.


Case Information:


Gudinas filed a Direct Appeal withthe Florida Supreme Court on 07/17/95, citing twelve errors, many of whichfocused on the admission of evidence at trial.  On 04/10/97, the FSCaffirmed the convictions and sentences. 


Gudinas filed a Petition for Writof Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on 08/18/97 that was denied on10/20/97. 


Gudinas filed a 3.850 Motion withthe Circuit Court on 06/05/98 that was amended on 07/19/99 and 09/30/99. On 03/20/00, the Circuit Court denied the Motion.


Gudinas filed a 3.850 MotionAppeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 05/01/00, citing allegations ofineffective assistance of counsel.  On 03/28/02, the FSC affirmed thedenial of the 3.850 Motion.


Gudinas filed a Petition for Writof Habeas Corpus with the Florida Supreme Court on 12/01/00, citing allegationsof ineffective assistance of counsel.  On 03/28/02, the FSC denied thePetition.


Gudinas filed a 3.851 Motion withthe Circuit Court on 10/14/02 that was denied on 01/16/03. 


Gudinas filed a Petition for Writof Habeas Corpus with the U.S. District Court, Middle District, on 10/15/02 andamended it on 01/10/05.  The Petition was denied on 09/30/10. 


Gudinas filed a 3.851 MotionAppeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 03/05/03, raising Ring claims. The FSC affirmed the denial of the 3.850 Motion on 05/13/04. 


Gudinas filed a Habeas PetitionAppeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals on 10/19/10. That appeal is pending.


Institutional Adjustment:





DATE    DAYS         VIOLATION                                    LOCATION      


01/05/98     0             FIGHTING                                        UNION C. I.        

01/28/98     0              POSSOF CONTRABAND               UNIONC. I.        

05/01/99    180           UNAUTH USE OFDRUGS              UNION C. I.        

05/18/99    90             LYING TOSTAFF                            UNION C. I.        




Report Date:  12/30/03          JFL

Approved:       01/26/04         WS

Updated:        11/29/10          JJK