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
HertzGuerry 567668RegistryCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
9/25/2009USDC06-00507Petition Denied
10/30/2009USCA0915613PPetition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
1/20/2011USSC10-8760Petition for Writ of Certiorari
4/4/2011USSC10-8760Petition Denied

Current Attorney

Last NameFirst NameCityAddressZipPhoneEMail
Taylor, Jr.Clyde M.Tallahassee, FL119 E. Park Ave.32301-7701850/224-1191Email


Last NameCase NumberJudgeCountyCCRCOrder DateContract Date
Taylor, Jr.97-214 CFSaulsWakullaNorth2/1/20022/12/2002

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. 


HERTZ, Guerry (W/M)

DC #    567668          

DOB:  03/08/77         


Second Judicial Circuit, Wakulla County, Case #97-214

Sentencing Judge, Trial: The Honorable N. Sanders Sauls

Attorney, Trial: Robert Rand – Special Assistant PublicDefender

Attorney, Direct Appeal: Steven L. Seliger – Private

Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Clyde M. Taylor, Jr. –Registry


Date ofOffense:           07/27/97        

Date of Sentence:        02/18/00


Circumstances of Offense:


The bodies of Melanie King and Robin Keith Spears were foundin their burning home in the early morning hours of July 27, 1997.


On July 26, 1997, Guerry Hertz, Jason Looney, and JimmyDempsey left an acquaintance’s house on foot, which was within walking distanceof the victims’ home, at approximately 11 p.m.  A woman who livedapproximately 500 yards from the victims’ home said that, at approximately 2a.m., Hertz came to her home requesting to use her telephone because “his truckhad broken down.”  She refused and the three men resumed their walk up theroad towards the home of Melanie King and Robin Keith Spears.  When Looneysaw their black Ford Mustang, he exclaimed, “There’s my car right there. That’sthe one I want.”


Acting as a decoy, Dempsey and Hertz knocked on the victims’front door and asked if they could use a telephone.  King gave them acordless telephone and Dempsey pretended to make a call.  When Dempseystarted to hand the phone back to King, Hertz forced his way into the home atgunpoint.  Looney entered after him and targeted Spears with hisrifle.  King and Spears were forced face down on their bed after beingbound and gagged with duct tape.  The three defendants stole various itemsincluding a television, a VCR, furniture, jewelry, CDs, and $1500 cash. They loaded the stolen goods into the victims’ two vehicles. 


Hertz and Looney decided that they could not leave witnessesand then informed Dempsey of their plan.  Dempsey testified that Hertz andLooney poured accelerants throughout the house, after which all three men wentback to the bedroom armed.  King told the defendants that she would“rather die being burnt up than shot.”  She then stated, “Please, God,don’t shoot me in the head.”  Hertz replied, “Sorry, can’t do that,”before he started firing his firearm.  Looney started firing and wasfollowed by Dempsey.  Both King and Spears died as a result of the gunshotwounds.


After the shootings, the house was set afire.  Looneydrove away in the victims’ Ford Mustang with Dempsey as a passenger, whileHertz drove the victims’ white Ford Ranger.  Dempsey reported that theentire episode spanned two hours.  They drove to Hertz’ house so that theycould divide the money and unload the stolen cargo.  Testimony was givenby two Tallahassee Wal-Mart employees stating that the three men showed offtheir new vehicles, a black Ford Mustang and a white Ford Ranger, after makinga purchase at approximately 5 a.m.  The employees’ testimony wascorroborated by a Wal-Mart receipt for clothes that was found in the victims’Ford Mustang. 


Looney, Hertz, and Dempsey then drove to Daytona Beach,Florida, where they were involved in a shootout after a police pursuit.  Looneyand Dempsey abandoned the victims’ Ford Mustang and were arrested as they werefleeing the scene.  Hertz was shot, abandoned the victims’ Ford Ranger andpaid $100 for a cab-ride to his aunt’s St. Augustine home.  Hertz wasarrested that day and police discovered Spears’ .9mm gun in Hertz’s bag. 


An FDLE firearms expert testified that one of the bulletsfired in the victims’ home was fired from a .380 Lorcin gun that was inLooney’s possession when he was arrested.  The Lorcin gun had belonged toSpears and Dempsey reported that Hertz had used it to shoot the victims. The police also found Dempsey’s wallet containing $380, Looney’s walletcontaining $464, and a roll of duct tape in the victims’ Ford Mustang. Latent fingerprints that matched all three men were taken from the victims’Ford Mustang.  Evidence of various accelerants were found on clothing inthe victim’s Ford Mustang and an expert later testified that the extensive firedamage to the victims’ home could only have been accomplished with the use ofaccelerants. 


The bodies of Melanie King and Robin Keith Spears were bothseverely burned, but the medical examiner testified that both deaths werecaused by gunshot wounds due to a lack of soot in the victims’ trachea, indicatingthat they were already dead when the fire started.  Further testimonyindicated that both victims lived one to two minutes after being shot.


Codefendant Information:


For his part in the crimes, Jason Looney received two deathsentences.  Jimmy Dempsey entered into a plea agreement with the State andwas sentenced to life in prison.


Prior Incarceration History:



Date of Offense


Sentencing Date



Attempted Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling


5 Years


Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling


5 Years


Grand Theft


5 Years


Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling


5 Years



Trial Summary:


08/26/97         The defendant indicted with the following:

                                   Count I:           First-Degree Murder

                                   Count II:          First-Degree Murder

                                   Count III:         Armed Burglary of aDwelling

                                   Count IV:         Robbery with aFirearm

                                   Count V:          Arson of aDwelling

                                   Count VI:         Use of a Firearmduring the Commission of a


12/09/99         The defendant was found guilty on all counts

12/11/99         The jury recommended death by a vote of 10-2 on both counts.

02/18/00         The defendant was sentenced as follows:

                                   Count I:           First-Degree Murder – Death

                                   Count II:          First-Degree Murder – Death

                                   Count III:         Armed Burglary of aDwelling – Life

                                   Count IV:         Robbery with aFirearm – Life

                                   Count V:          Arson of aDwelling – 30 Years

                                   Count VI:         Use of a Firearmduring the Commission of a

 Felony – 15Years


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC #00-457

803 So. 2d 629


03/03/00         Appeal filed.

11/01/01         Convictions and sentences affirmed.

12/21/01         Rehearing denied.

12/21/01         Mandate issued.


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC #01-9154

536 U.S. 963


03/20/02         Petition filed.

06/28/02         Petition denied.


State Circuit Court – 3.851 Motion

CC #97-214


06/30/03         Motion filed.

03/09/04         Motion amended.

12/30/04         Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.851 Motion

FSC# 05-59

941 So. 2d 1031


01/12/05         Appeal filed.

06/22/06         FSC affirmed denial of motion

10/27/06         Rehearing denied

11/13/06         Mandate issued


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

USDC# 06-cv-00507


10/31/06         Petition filed.

09/25/09         Petition denied.


United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit –Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

USCA# 0915613P


10/30/09         Appeal filed.

10/22/10           Appeal denied.


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC# 10-8760


01/20/11         Petition filed.

04/04/11          Petition denied.




Case Information:


A Direct Appeal was filed with the Florida Supreme Court on03/03/00.  Issues that were raised on appeal included whether the trialcourt erred by admitting gruesome photographs of the bodies, whether the trialcourt erred in finding Hertz competent to stand trial, and whether the trialwas prejudiced by the extensive details of the collateral crimes in VolusiaCounty.  The Florida Supreme Court found all of the claims either harmlessor without merit and affirmed the conviction and sentence on 11/01/01.


A Petition for Writ of Certiorari was filed with the UnitedStates Supreme Court on 03/20/02 and was denied on 06/28/02.


A 3.851 Motion was filed with the State Circuit Court on06/30/03 and was amended on 03/09/04.  On 12/30/04, the Motion was denied.


A 3.851 Motion Appeal was filed with the Florida SupremeCourt on 01/12/05, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. On 06/22/06, theFSC affirmed the denial of the motion. 


On 10/31/06, Hertz filed a Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus in the United States District Court, Northern District.  Thatpetition was denied on 09/25/09.


On 10/30/09, Hertz filed an Appeal for a Writ of HabeasCorpus with the United States Court of Appeals, 11th District. This appeal was denied on 10/22/10.


On 01/20/11, Hertz filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorariwith the United States Supreme Court.  This petition was denied on04/04/11.


Institutional Adjustment:





DATE            DAYS             VIOLATION                         LOCATION      


01/09/06         0                     MAIL VIOLATIONS             UNION C.I.   




Report Date:    03/04/04          cc

Approved:       03/09/04          ew

Updated:         04/11/11          CAR