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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Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
CaballeroLuis L28231CCRC-SCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
2/27/2006CC95152952nd Amended Motion
4/12/2007CC9515295Amended motion
1/14/2009CC9515295Status Conference
9/1/2009CC9515295Status Conference scheduled

Current Attorney

Last NameFirst NameCityAddressZipPhoneEMail
EckertRoseanneFort Lauderdale, FL101 NE 3rd Ave Ste 40033301954/713-1284Email


Last NameCase NumberJudgeCountyCCRCOrder DateContract Date

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. 



DC#     L28231

DOB:   09/23/73


Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County Case #95-15295-C

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Susan Lebow

Attorney, Trial: Deborah Carpenter & Pedro Dijols –Special Assistant Public Defenders

Attorney, Direct Appeal: Lewis Fishman – Private

Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Roseanne Eckert & CelesteBacchi – CCRC-S


Date of Offense:         07/13/95         

Date of Sentence:        02/15/01


Circumstances of Offense:


On 07/15/95, the body of Denise O’Neill was found dumped ina canal near the Sawgrass Expressway in Broward County.  Her body wascovered by a sheet and was bound with black shoelaces, a multicolored dogleash, and electrical cords attached to heat rocks.  Her clothing had beencut in the crotch area. 


Police canvassed O’Neill’s apartment complex, looking forneighbors with reptiles and dogs as pets, since the body was bound with a dogleash and electrical cords attached to heat rocks, which are used in reptiletanks.  Investigators learned that Luis Caballero lived next door toO’Neill and owned snakes and a dog.  Caballero accompanied detectives tothe police station for questioning. 


At the police station, Caballero confessed to O’Neill’smurder, but stated he only served as a lookout while Isac Brown committed therobbery and murder.  According to Caballero, on the day of the murder,Caballero saw O’Neill carrying a laundry basket up the stairs.  As shereached the door, Brown pushed her inside Caballero’s apartment and shoved herto the floor.  Brown and Caballero restrained her with towels from herlaundry basket and gagged her with a sock.  O’Neill gave Brown andCaballero credit card and banking information, which the two used to withdraw$700 from her credit card account. 


O’Neill was assured by Brown and Caballero that she would bedropped off somewhere after dark, but Caballero was wary that she would be ableto identify him as her neighbor.  Caballero then planned to murderO’Neill, but could not agree as to who would carry out the murder.  Brownsaid he would kill O’Neill if he received a larger share of her money.  Caballeroinitially denied participating in the actual murder, but later admitted tohelping Brown carry out the crime.  Brown first tried to strangle O’Neillwith an electrical cord, but the cord broke, so Brown used a second cord whileCaballero covered O’Neill’s mouth.  After ten to twelve minutes, O’Neilldied.  Caballero then cut a hole in the crotch of O’Neill’s shorts and hadsex with the body and ejaculated. 


Later that night, Caballero and Brown wrapped O’Neill’s bodyin a sheet and tied the sheet with black shoelaces and electrical cords. They loaded the body into the trunk of her car and dumped the body in a canalnear the Sawgrass Expressway.  After dumping the body, Brown and Caballeroagain used her credit card to withdraw $400 from her credit card account. They split the money while eating breakfast at an International House ofPancakes (IHOP) restaurant. 


Although Caballero never mentioned the involvement ofanother codefendant, Robert Messer, he was arrested during the investigation ofthe murder.  Messer was implicated in the crime when an IHOP waitressnoted that a third man accompanied Brown and Caballero.  Messer’sfingerprints were also found in O’Neill’s car. 


Codefendant Information:


Caballero’s codefendants, Isac Brown and Robert Messer, weretried separately and convicted of offenses related to the murder of DeniseO’Neill. 


Isac Brown was convicted of one count each of Second-DegreeMurder, Kidnapping, and Robbery and was sentenced to Life Imprisonment, 30years, and 15 years, respectively. 


Robert Messer was convicted of one count of Manslaughter andwas sentenced to seven years, nine months imprisonment.   He wasreleased from prison on 06/01/02.


Trial Summary:


09/07/95         Indicted as follows:

                                   Count I:           First-Degree Murder

                                   Count II:          Kidnapping

                                   Count III:         Robbery

                                   Count IV:         Burglary

                                   Count V:          Sexual Battery

02/28/00         Jury returned guilty verdicts on Counts I – IV of the indictment

                       Trial court granted a directed verdict as to Count V

03/28/00         Jury recommended death by a vote of 8-4

02/15/01         Sentenced as follows:

                                   Count I:           First-Degree Murder – Death

                                   Count II:          Kidnapping – Life Imprisonment

                                   Count III:         Robbery – 15 years

                                   Count IV:         Burglary – 15 years


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 01-651

851 So. 2d 655


03/22/01         Direct Appeal filed

07/10/03         Convictions and sentences affirmed

08/07/03         Mandate issued


Circuit Court – 3.851 Motion

CC# 95-15295-C


10/04/04         Motion filed

12/06/04         Motion amended

02/27/06         Motion amended

04/12/07         Motion amended


Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition ofSentence:


The case progression appears to be within acceptable timeparameters.  


Case Information:


Caballero filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida SupremeCourt on 03/22/01, citing the following errors: allowing improper comments bythe prosecutor as to Caballero’s right to remain silent; finding that thecapital felony was committed in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner;failing to consider Caballero’s age as a mitigating factor; admitting testimonyas to the codefendant’s Second-Degree Murder conviction; disproportionate useof the death penalty; and unconstitutionality of Florida’s death penaltystatute.  On 07/10/03, the convictions and sentences were affirmed. 


Caballero filed a 3.851 Motion with the Circuit Court on10/04/04 and amended the motion on 12/06/04, 01/23/06, and 04/12/07.  Themotion is pending. 


Institutional Adjustment:



DATE                   DAYS                    VIOLATION                                      LOCATION      

03/16/01                0                            LYING TOSTAFF                             FLORIDA STATE PRISON

01/31/02               30                          POSS OFCONTRABAND                FLORIDA STATE PRISON

12/05/02               30                          MAILVIOLATIONS                          FLORIDA STATEPRISON

05/12/03               24                          ATTEMPT TOCONSPIRE                FLORIDA STATE PRISON




Report Date:   07/27/04         JFL

Updated:         09/03/09          KKR