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
ArbelaezGuillermo 122079CCRC-SCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
9/7/2005FSC05-16103.850 Appeal
11/14/2006FSC05-1610Reversed and remanded for EH on MR claims
1/29/2007FSC05-1610Rehearing Denied
6/7/2010FSC10-10383.850 Appeal
12/29/2010FSC10-1038Initial brief filed
3/29/2011FSC10-1038Answer brief filed
7/16/2009CC88-5546Evidentiary Hearing held
5/7/2010CC88-55463.850 Motion denied
11/23/2010CC88-55463.851 Motion filed

Current Attorney

Last NameFirst NameCityAddressZipPhoneEMail
ScherTodd G.Miami Beach, FL5600 Collins Ave., Apt. 15-B33140-2413305/861-9252Email


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 on for statistical or legal purposes.


ARBELAEZ, Guillermo (H/M)

DC #    122079

DOB:   08/29/57


Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Dade County, Case #88-5546

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Allen Kornblum

Trial Attorney: Reemberto Diaz –Private

Attorney, Direct Appeal: ReembertoDiaz – Private

Attorneys, Collateral Appeal: Rachel Day – CCRC-S


Date of Offense:          02/14/88

Date of Sentence:        03/14/91 


Circumstances of Offense:


Guillermo Arbelaez was convicted and sentenced to death forthe kidnapping and murder of five-year-old Julio Rivas on 02/14/88.


Arbelaez met Graciela Alfara, the victim’s mother, at a cafeteria where sheworked as a waitress.  After some time, Arbelaez moved in with Alfara, paying $150 a month for a room that he was to sharewith Alfara’s 19 year-old cousin.  Arbelaez and Alfara becameintimate soon after he moved in, but the relationship abruptly ended when Alfara accused him of touching one of her daughtersinappropriately.  Alfara ordered the defendantto move out by 02/15/88.


According to Arbelaez, he and Alfara were still in a relationship at that time, and weresupposed to be married on 02/15/88.  On 02/13/88, however, Alfara came home late with another man, and Arbelaezwitnessed her kiss that man goodnight.    


The next morning, while Alfaraslept, Arbelaez took her son, Julio Rivas, from thehome.  Arbelaez stopped for a coffee at Alfara’splace of employment, and witnesses reported that he seemed calm andnormal.  There, Arbelaez spoke with an acquaintance telling him of Alfara’s infidelity and that he was going to do somethingso that she would never forget him.


After leaving the cafeteria, Arbelaez drove to the top ofthe Powell Bridge where he pulled over and raised the hood of his car to makeit look like he had broken down.  Next, Arbelaez took the boy by the armsand threw him over the side of the 70 ft high bridge.  The defendantquickly left the scene, abandoned his car in a neighboring area, and fled tothe home of his friend Pedro Salazar.  Arbelaez confessed to Salazar,stating that he wanted revenge against Alfara.


Arbelaez flew to Puerto Rico, and again to his home inColombia, where Miami detectives tracked him down on 03/16/88.  On04/11/88, he was arrested at Miami International Airport as soon as he clearedcustoms.


During his trial, a medical examiner testified that JulioRivas died from strangulation as well as drowning.  The boy’s head hadmany abrasions and his body showed many large bruises.  The medicalexaminer determined that these wounds were inflicted before he died.  Alfara testified that her son did not have the bruises andabrasions on the morning he was kidnapped.


Additional Information:


Through cooperation with the detectives, with the AmericanEmbassy, and with Colombian passport officials, Arbelaez returned to the UnitedStates on his own volition on 04/11/88. 


Trial Summary:


02/18/88         Warrant issued for the arrest of the Defendant.

04/11/88         Defendant arrested.

04/27/89         Defendant indicted on:

                                   Count I:           First-Degree Murder

                                   Count II:           Kidnapping

02/19/91         The jury found the Defendant guilty on both counts.

03/04/91         Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by an 11 to 1 majority, voted for the deathpenalty.

03/14/91         The Defendant was sentenced as followed:

                                   Count I:           First-Degree Murder – Death

                                   Count II:           Kidnapping –Life


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC #77,668

626 So. 2d. 169


04/03/91         Appeal filed.

09/23/93         FSC affirmed the convictions and sentence of death.

11/17/93         Rehearing denied.

12/17/93         Mandate issued.


United States Supreme Court– Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC #93-8229

511 U.S. 1115


01/11/94         Petition filed.

05/23/94         Petition denied.


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC #88-5546


08/15/95         Motion filed.

10/18/96         Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Motion Appeal

FSC #89,375

775 So. 2d. 909


11/20/96         Appeal filed.

07/13/00         FSC remanded the case to the CC for an EH on the defendant’s claim ofineffective counsel during the penalty phase.

02/19/01         Mandate issued.


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion(On Remand)

CC #88-5546


07/13/00         Motion remanded for an EH by FSC.

01/07/02         Evidentiary Hearing held.

09/18/02         Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Motion Appeal

FSC #SC02-2284

898 So.2d 25


10/21/02         Appeal filed.

01/27/05         Denial affirmed.

03/18/05         Rehearing denied.

04/04/05         Mandate issued. 


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC #SC03-1718

898 So.2d 25


09/26/03         Petition filed.

01/27/05         Petition denied.

03/18/05         Rehearing denied.

04/04/05         Mandate issued. 


State Circuit Court – 3.851 Motion

CC #88-5546


11/30/04         Motion filed.

08/05/05         CC denied Motion.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.851 Motion Appeal

FSC# 05-1610

950 So.2d 413


09/07/05          Appealfiled.

11/14/06          FSCreversed and remanded for an EH on the mental retardation issue. 

11/28/06          Motionfor rehearing.

01/29/07          Rehearingdenied.


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion(On Remand)

CC #88-5546


11/14/06          Motionremanded for an EH by FSC. 

07/16/09          EvidentiaryHearing held.

05/07/10          Motiondenied.


Florida SupremeCourt – 3.850 Motion Appeal




06/07/10          Appeal filed


State Circuit Court – 3.851 Motion

CC #88-5546



11/23/10          Motionfiled



Factors Contributing to the Delay in the Imposition ofthe Sentence:


In 2000, the Florida Supreme Court remanded Arbelaez’s 3.850Appeal to the Circuit Court for an evidentiary hearing on his claim ofineffective counsel.  On 09/18/02, the Circuit Court denied Arbelaez’s3.850 Motion. In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court again remanded Arbelaez’s3.850 Appeal to the Circuit Court for an evidentiary hearing on the mentalretardation issue. It was not until 05/07/10 that the Circuit Court denied themotion.


Case Information:


On 04/03/91, Guillermo Arbelaez filed a direct appeal withthe Florida Supreme Court.  Among the issues raised in that appealwere:  the denial of his Motion to Suppress the statements that he made inColombia and Miami, the denial of his Motion for a Mistrial due to an emotionaloutburst by the victim’s mother, the application of a couple of statutory aggravatingfactors and the failure to apply his mental disturbance as a mitigatingfactor.  The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the convictions and sentenceof death on 09/23/93.  The mandate was issued on 12/17/93.


On 01/11/94, Arbelaez filed a Petition for Writ ofCertiorari in the United States Supreme Court, which was denied on 05/23/94.


On 08/15/95, Arbelaez filed a 3.850 Motion in the CircuitCourt, which was denied on 10/18/96.


On 11/20/96, Arbelaez filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal in the FloridaSupreme Court. On 07/13/00, the case was remanded to the trial court for anevidentiary hearing regarding the defendant’s claim of ineffective counselduring the penalty phase.


On 01/07/02, an evidentiary hearing was held. On 09/18/02,the Circuit Court denied Arbelaez’s 3.850 Motion. 


On 10/21/02, Arbelaez filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal in theFlorida Supreme Court. On 01/27/05, the FSC affirmed the denial of the motion.


On 09/26/03, Arbelaez filed a Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus, which was denied on 01/27/05.


On 11/30/04, Arbelaez filed a 3.851 Motion in the CircuitCourt, which was denied on 08/05/05.


On 09/07/05, Arbelaez filed a 3.851 Motion Appeal with theFlorida Supreme Court.  On 11/14/06, the FSC reversed and remanded thecase for an Evidentiary Hearing on the mental retardation issue.  On11/29/06, a motion for a rehearing was filed with the FSC, which was denied on01/29/07.


On 07/16/09, an evidentiary hearing was held. On 05/07/10,the Circuit Court denied Arbelaez’s 3.850 Motion.


On 06/07/10, Arbelaez filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal in theFlorida Supreme Court, which is pending.


On 11/23/10, Arbelaez filed a3.851 Motion in the Circuit Court. That motion is pending.

Institutional Adjustment:


 DATE        DAYS           VIOLATION                         LOCATION       

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

 06/21/91        30       UNARMED ASSAULT      FLORIDA STATE PRISON




10/30/01 – ew

10/30/01 – approved – ws

02/17/11 – updated – jjk