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Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
SlawsonNewton 119658CCRC-MCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
5/16/2003  Executed

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 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.


SLAWSON, Newton Carlton (W/M)

DC# 119658

DOB: 10/10/54


Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, Hillsborough County Case#89-5619

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Robert H. Bonanno

Trial Attorneys: Craig Alldredge and Brian Donerly – AssistantPublic Defenders

Attorney, Direct Appeal: Simson Unterberger – Private

Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Chris DeBock and Mark S.Gruber – CCRC-Middle

Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Pro Se (as of 11/07/01)


Date of Offense:           04/11/89

Date of Sentence:         04/11/90


Circumstances of the Offense:


The following information is based on the confession givenby Mr. Slawson on the night of his arrest. On 04/11/89, Slawson went to theWood family home. The victims lived in a garage apartment in the proximity ofMrs. Wood’s parents. Slawson took with him a .357 revolver and a knife with asix-inch blade. Upon the request of Gerald Wood, victim, Slawson placed the gunin the bathroom to prevent the children from finding it. Slawson gave the knifeto Mr. Wood so that he could divide a rock of cocaine. Mr. Wood offered to sellsome of the crack cocaine to Slawson and upon Slawson’s refusal, Peggy Wood,Mr. Wood’s wife, expressed concern that Slawson might be a police officer. Dueto this statement, Slawson decided to leave the residence and went to thebathroom to retrieve his gun. Slawson stated that he believed that Mr. Wood hadbeen placing drugs in his beer, which had caused him to feel as if he werelocked in the apartment. Upon his return from the bathroom, Mr. Wood stood upwith the knife in hand. It was at this time that Slawson shot Mr. Wood andstated that he may have shot Mrs. Wood, who was pregnant. Slawson thenproceeded to the children’s room and shot both of them. He then returned to theliving room and shot Mrs. Wood again. He then took the knife and placed it intothe base of Mrs. Wood’s pelvic area and cut upward to her sternum. Slawsonclaimed that his rationale for disemboweling Mrs. Wood was an attempt to savethe unborn child because he had deemed both Mr. and Mrs. Wood dead. Mrs. Woodwas found at approximately 10:00 pm on the back porch of her parent’s home. Before her death, Mrs. Wood stated to her mother that Slawson had killed herhusband, Gerald Wood, and their two children. Mrs. Wood had been shot once inthe abdomen, once in the back, had the incision in the abdomen area, and hadseveral lacerations on her right thigh. Mr. Wood had been stabbed in theabdomen but his death and the death of the two children was attributed to thegunshot wounds that they had received.

The fetus was found next to Mr. Wood’s body and had receivedtwo gunshot wounds and multiple lacerations.


Trial Summary


04/26/89          Slawson indicted on the following:

Count I:            FirstDegree Murder (Gerald Wood)

            Count II:           FirstDegree Murder (Child)

                        Count III:         First DegreeMurder (Child)

                        Count IV:         Manslaughter of anunborn child (Fetus)

                        Count V:          First DegreeMurder (Peggy Wood)

04/28/89          Slawson pled not guilty to the charges.

10/23/89          Motion for change of venue was filed anddenied.

03/15/90          Slawson was found guilty on all countscharged in the indictment.

03/15/90          Upon advisory sentencing, the juryrecommended the sentence of death by a majority vote of 8 to 4 for the murderof Gerald Wood, by a majority vote of 7 to 5 for the murder of each of the children,and by a majority vote of 9 to 3 for the murder of Peggy Wood.

04/11/90          Slawson was sentenced as follows:

Count I:            FirstDegree Murder (Gerald Wood) – Death

Count II:           FirstDegree Murder (Child) – Death

Count III:         FirstDegree Murder (Child) – Death

Count IV:         Manslaughterof an unborn child (Fetus) – 30 years with 366 days

Count V:          FirstDegree Murder (Peggy Wood) – Death



Appeal Summary:


Florida State Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC #75,960

619 So. 2d 255 (Fla. 1993)


05/07/90          Appeal filed.

04/01/93          FSC affirmed the convictions andsentences.

05/26/93          Rehearing denied.

06/25/93          Mandate issued.



United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC #93-6225

512 U.S. 1246 (U.S. 1994)


10/01/93          Petition filed.

06/27/94          USSC denied petition.





Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# 89-5619


09/15/95          Motion filed.

01/13/97          Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC #90,045

796 So. 2d 491 (Fla. 2001)


02/20/97          Appeal filed.

07/05/01          FSC dismissed the 3.850 Appeal,affirmed the circuit court’s order finding the defendant competent to waivecollateral counsel and all collateral appeals, and affirmed the circuit court’sorder to dismiss CCRC-M as counsel.

08/24/01          Rehearing denied.

10/24/01          Mandate issued.




04/14/03          Death warrant signed by Jeb Bush.

05/15/03          Planned date of execution.

05/16/03          Slawson executed.


Factors Contributing to the Delay inExecution of Sentence:


The delay in this case is due to the defendant filing a prose motion to waive his collateral counsel and the collateral appeals thatnecessitated a competency decision. 


Case Information:


The Florida Supreme court affirmed Slawson’s conviction andsentence in 06/93. Slawson’s attorney immediately filed a Petition for Writ ofCertiorari with the United States Supreme Court, which was promptly denied.


In 9/95, Slawson’s attorneys at CCRC-M filed a writ ofmandamus and a request for an extension of time due to the fact that they wereunable to meet with the defendant. They claimed that due to a medicalcondition, Slawson was prevented from being cuffed in the back, and his frontcuff pass had been revoked. This writ was denied on 2/22/96, but while it waspending, CCRC-M filed an unverified 3.850 motion. They asserted that the motionwas incomplete due to Slawson’s inability to meet with counsel to verify andreview the motion. Upon filing an amended unverified motion, their main claimchanged to state that Slawson was incompetent under Dusky v. US. CCRC-Mretained a mental health expert to evaluate Slawson. The expert performed anevaluation based on psychiatric records, background information, and aninterview with the defendant’s counsel. The psychologist diagnosed Slawson withparanoid schizophrenia. CCRC-M claimed that, due to Slawson’s incompetence andhis refusal to leave his cell, all but two out of the twenty-eight claimswithin the amended 3.850 motion could not be verified. On 12/20/96, a Huffhearing was conducted to discern the need for an evidentiary hearing. It wasdecided that an evidentiary hearing was not necessary based on the incompetencyclaim; however, if an evidentiary hearing was deemed necessary for the otherclaims, the claim of competency could be addressed at that time. Defensecounsel claimed at this time that they could not develop the other claims dueto their inability to meet with Slawson. The circuit court denied the 3.850motion on January 13, 1997.


CCRC filed a 3.850 appeal on 02/20/97. The appeal wasscheduled for an oral argument, but prior to its fruition, Slawson filed amotion pro se to Relinquish Jurisdiction with the Florida Supreme Court.Slawson also filed a motion pro se for Withdrawal and Termination of Appeal inthe circuit court. On 08/28/98, the Florida Supreme Court relinquishedjurisdiction for 60 days in order for the circuit court to rule on thewithdrawal motion. The order also specified that the defendant be present atthe hearing. On the same day, the circuit court held a hearing on thewithdrawal motion and determined that Slawson was competent to waive his rightsto collateral counsel and collateral appeals. The opinion was supplied to theFlorida Supreme Court, which remanded it to the circuit court on 12/17/98 for amental health evaluation to aid in discerning competency.


The circuit court appointed three mental health experts toevaluate Slawson. The written reports filed by the mental health expertsrevealed that two found Slawson competent, while one found him incompetent. On03/19/99, the circuit court issued an order finding Slawson competent. On04/03/00, during oral arguments held by the Florida Supreme Court, it wasdetermined that the competency decision was not based on live testimony;therefore, the case was relinquished back to the circuit court for livetestimony from the mental health experts. During the testimony of the mentalhealth experts in the circuit court, the one remaining expert who hadpreviously found Slawson incompetent recanted his prior assessment and renderedSlawson competent. On 10/25/00, the circuit court again ruled that Slawson wascompetent due to the agreement among the mental health experts. On 11/09/00, aFaretta hearing was conducted to determine if the defendant’s decision to waivehis rights was “knowing, intelligent, and voluntary.”


The Florida Supreme Court ruled that the case followed thegeneral procedures set forth in Durocher, which outline the actions that arenecessary when a capital defendant makes a request to waive collateral counseland collateral appeals. Based on the precedents made by the prior decisions ofDurocher, Sanchez-Velasco, and Castro, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed thecircuit court’s competency determination, which found Slawson “competent tomake a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of collateral counsel andcollateral appeals”, and in doing so, affirmed the circuit court’s order todischarge CCRC-M from representing Slawson and dismissed the 3.850 appeal.


On 07/05/01,the Florida Supreme Court dismissed the 3.850 Appeal and affirmed the circuitcourt’s order finding the defendant competent to waive collateral counsel andall collateral appeals.  The Florida Supreme Court also affirmed the circuitcourt’s order to dismiss CCRC-M as counsel.  On 08/24/01, Rehearing wasdenied.  On 10/24/01, a mandate was issued.


Institutional Adjustment


DATE              DAYS              VIOLATION                                      LOCATION     

--------            ----                  ----------------------------                 -------------------

02/24/95          0                      UNARMEDASSAULT                      UNION C. I.       

02/24/95          0                      DISOBEYINGORDER                      UNION C. I.       

06/01/99          0                      UNARMEDASSAULT                      UNION C. I.       



Report Date:     08/01/01          NMP

Approved:        00/00/00          WHS

Updated:          01/09/02          NMP

Updated:          05/16/03          SQ