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
PopeThomas 083040CCRC-SCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
5/28/2009FSC07-2413 Answer brief filed
12/26/2007FSC07-24133.851 appeal filed
8/27/2008FSC07-2413Initial brief filed
5/28/2009FSC07-2413Answer Brief
1/19/2010FSC07-2413Denial Affirmed
9/21/2007CC81-3047CF3.850 Motion filed
11/9/2007CC81-3047CF3.850 motion denied
11/21/2007CC81-3047CFMotion denied
12/11/2003USDC-S91-6717Habeas petition filed
4/26/2004USDC-S91-6717Habeas petition amended

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 thisinformation regularly. This information, however, is subject to change and maynot reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not be relied uponfor statistical or legal purposes.


POPE, Thomas Dewey (W/M)

DC#    083040 

DOB:  01/29/49


Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County Case# 81-3047CF

Sentencing Judge:  The Honorable Arthur J. Franza

Attorney, Trial:  Scott T. Eber – Private

Attorney, Direct Appeal:  Michael D. Gelety – SpecialPublic Defender

Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Celeste Bacchi – CCRC-S


Date of Offense:  01/19/81

Date of Sentence:  04/07/82


Circumstances of the Offense:


The two victims, Al Doranz and Caesar Di Russo, were killedon 01/16/81. Pope was convicted of their murder in addition to the murder ofKristine Walters.


Thomas Pope and Susan Eckard, Pope’s girlfriend, admittedbeing with Al Doranz and Kristine Walters, Doranz’s girlfriend, at Ms. Walters’apartment on the night of

01/16/81. Eckard testified that she and Pope had left theapartment to visit Clarence ‘Buddy’ Lagle and to pick up some hamburgers. Laglelater testified at the trial that he had made a silencer for an AR-7 rifle forPope. Eckard and Pope then returned to Walters’ apartment. Pope and Doranztalked Walters into going with Eckard to the apartment where Pope was stayingat the time. Pope did not go with the two women. Eckard testified that Pope hadarranged a drug deal with Doranz and Di Russo.


Sometime later that night, Pope showed up at his ownapartment. He told Walters that something had happened and Doranz had beeninjured, and that she should stay at his apartment for a while. Eckardtestified that, at this time, she knew that Di Russo and Doranz were dead. OnSaturday, 01/17/81, Walters checked into a hotel. From this time, up until herdeath, Pope supplied Walters with drugs. Pope told Eckard that he would have tokill Walters, and that he felt bad because he had started to like Walters.


On Sunday, 01/18/81, Pope told Walters that he would takeher to see Doranz. Pope drove her to a canal. According to the medicalexaminer’s testimony, Walters was shot six times with exploding ammunition. Shewas shot from the rear and shot twice with the gun pressed up to her abdomen.At some point, Walters had made an attempt to get away. The gunshot woundswould have been extremely painful, but would not have caused a loss ofconsciousness. Pope then hit Walters over the head with the gun barrel. Thisblow caused the barrel to break. Pope then dragged Walters to the nearby canaland threw her in. She was still alive, but subsequently drowned. Parts of therifle were found near the canal.


Eckard testified that Pope described the murder to her whenhe returned. He told her about the rifle breaking, and the next day the twowent back to the scene to pick up all of the pieces.


The bodies of Al Doranz and Caesar Di Russo were found inWalters’ apartment on 01/19/81. Doranz had been shot three times and Di Russohad been shot five times. A 22-caliber shell casing was found under Di Russo’sbody. Walters’ body was found on 01/21/81, floating in the canal.


Sometime in early January of 1981, Al Doranz had purchasedan AR-7 rifle for Thomas Pope.


Trial Summary:


03/25/81         Indicted as follows:

                                   CountI:           First-Degree Murder (Di Russo)

                                   CountII:           First-DegreeMurder (Doranz)

                                   CountIII:         First-Degree Murder(Walters)

02/25/82         Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment.

02/25/82         Jury recommended death by a vote of 9-3 for Count III.

04/07/83         Sentenced as follows:

                                   CountI:           First-Degree Murder – Life

                                   CountII:           First-DegreeMurder – Life

                                   CountIII:         First-Degree Murder –Death


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 62,064

441 So. 2d 1073


05/13/82         Appeal filed

10/27/83         FSC affirmed conviction and sentence

01/11/84         Rehearing denied

02/17/84         Mandate issued


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# 81-3047CF


09/18/84         Motion filed

12/30/86         Motion denied


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 67,054

496 So. 2d 798


05/22/85         Petition filed

10/16/86         FSC denied the petition


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC# 86-6203

480 U.S. 951


01/14/87         Petition filed

03/30/87         Petition denied


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC# 74,614

569 So. 2d 1241


08/24/89         Appeal filed

10/11/90         FSC affirmed the trial’s court denial of the postconviction relief

12/17/90         Rehearing denied

12/17/90         Mandate issued


United States District Court, Southern District –Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

USDC# 91-6717



09/09/91         Petition filed

03/28/94         Petition was denied without prejudice

02/19/99         Motion to reopen case filed

03/25/02         Case closed

12/11/03         Petition reinstated

04/26/04         Amended


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# 81-3047CF


04/06/95         Motion filed

05/29/96         Motion denied


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC# 89,084

702 So. 2d 221


10/07/96         Appeal filed

12/04/97         FSC affirmed the trial’s court denial of the postconviction relief

02/19/98         Rehearing denied

03/23/98         Mandate issued


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# 81-3047CF


02/04/02         Motion filed

04/23/02         Motion denied


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC# 02-1141

845 So. 2d 892


05/20/02         Appeal filed

04/11/03         Affirmed denial of 3.850 Motion


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 02-1833


08/21/02         Petition filed

04/11/03         Petition denied


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 05-1689


09/13/05         Petition filed

11/03/05         Petition denied

11/15/05         Motion for Rehearing

01/18/06         Rehearing denied


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# 81-3047CF


06/28/06         Motion filed

11/21/06         Motion amended

08/22/07         Motion denied

09/10/07         Motion for Rehearing filed

11/21/07         Rehearing denied




State Circuit Court – Successive 3.850 Motion

CC# 81-3047CF


09/21/07         Motion filed.

11/21/07         Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.851 Appeal

FSC# 07-2413


12/26/07         Appeal filed.

01/19/10          Appeal denied.


Factors Contributing to the Delay in the Imposition ofthe Sentence:


Pope’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus was pending in theUSDC for more than ten years before the Court decided to close the case. The USDC reinstated the Habeas Petition on 12/11/03, which has been pending forthe last three years.  


Case Information:


Pope filed a Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on05/13/82. His appeal included the following issues in regard to his conviction:the evidence at trial was insufficient to sustain a conviction and a videotapeddeposition of a witness should not have been admitted into evidence because thestate did not prove the witness’s unavailability at the time of the trial. Thecourt found both of these issues to be meritless. The remaining issues raisedon appeal were surrounding the aggravating and mitigating factors. The courtruled that there was no abuse of discretion by the trial court or that theissues were meritless. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the conviction andsentence on 10/27/83. The rehearing was denied on 01/11/84, and the mandate wasissued on 02/17/84.


Pope filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court on 09/18/84.The motion was denied on 12/30/86.


Pope filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to theFlorida Supreme Court on 05/22/85. Pope claimed ineffective assistance ofcounsel because his attorney failed to raise the issue of alleged prejudicialcomments made by the judge and the prosecution during the trial. Pope contendedthat these comments denied him a fair trial, and therefore he deserves either anew trial or a new sentencing phase. The Court ruled that the comments did notrob Pope of a fair trial nor did they constitute fundamental error, therefore,the case did not merit a retrial or a resentencing. The Florida Supreme Courtdenied the petition on 10/16/86.


Pope filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the UnitedStates Supreme Court on 01/14/87. The petition was denied on 03/30/87.


Pope filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on08/24/89. The main issue in the appeal was again based on ineffectiveassistance of counsel, specifically that Pope’s trial attorney failed to objectto the separation of the jury during deliberations. The Court rejected this asfundamental error and affirmed the trial court’s denial of the 3.850 Motion on10/11/89. The rehearing was denied and the mandate was issued on 12/17/90.


Pope filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to theUnited States District Court, Southern District, on 09/09/91. The state arguedthat some of the claims raised in the petition had not been exhausted in thestate courts; therefore, the petition was dismissed without prejudice on03/28/94.  Approximately five years later, Pope filed a motion to reopenthis case on 02/19/99.  On 02/23/99, an order to reopen the case wasissued by the United States District Court.  On 04/19/00, the Court filedan order dismissing certain claims in the petition and requiring furtherdebriefing on some remaining claims.  On 02/05/02, Pope filed a Motion toHold Proceedings in Abeyance pending deposition of the State Courtproceedings.  On 03/19/02, an order was issued by the Court granting theabove motion. On 03/25/02, the case was closed by the Court.  Pope reinstatedthe Habeas Petition on 12/11/03.  The petition was amended on 04/26/04,and is currently pending.


Pope filed a second 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court on04/06/95. After the filing of the 3.850 Motion, Pope filed the following pro semotions: Motion to Hold Proceedings in Abeyance Pending Resolution of Status ofRepresentation, Motion to Hearing to Determine Competency of AppointedCollateral Counsel and Consolidated Motion for the Appointment of the CapitalCollateral Representative. Pope’s volunteer counsel filed a motion to withdraw,but the court mandated that the attorney stay with the case until the 3.850Motion was resolved, and then they would be allowed to withdraw. The circuitcourt denied Pope’s 3.850 Motion on 05/29/96.


Pope filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on10/17/96. Pope again raised issues surrounding ineffective assistance ofcounsel. The state dubbed the motion successive due to the fact that all of theclaims should have been raised in the original 3.850 Motion. Pope’s stance wasthat his case had unique circumstances that constituted a need to vary fromprocedural guidelines even though the motion had been filed after theexpiration of the time limit. The Court found the issues that Pope raised to beprocedurally barred. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’sdenial of Pope’s 3.850 Motion on 12/04/97. The rehearing was denied on02/19/98, and the mandate was issued on 03/23/98.


Pope filed his third 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court on02/04/02. The motion was denied on 04/23/02.


Pope filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on05/20/02.  The Court affirmed the denial of his 3.850 Motion on 04/11/03.


Pope filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to theFlorida Supreme Court on 08/21/02, which was denied on 04/11/03.


On 09/13/05, Pope filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpusto the Florida Supreme Court, which was denied on 11/03/05.  On 01/18/06,the rehearing was denied.


On 06/28/06, Pope filed a successive 3.850 Motion to theCircuit Court, and amended the motion on 11/21/06.  On 08/22/07, thecircuit court denied the 3.850 Motion.  Pope filed a motion for rehearingon 09/10/07 which was denied on 11/21/07.


On 09/21/07, Pope filed a second successive 3.850 motion inthe circuit court which was denied on 11/21/07.


On 12/26/07, Pope filed a 3.851 appeal in the FloridaSupreme Court.  This appeal is currently pending.


Institutional Adjustment:



   DATE    DAYS          VIOLATION                             LOCATION      

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

 08/08/82       0         DISOBEYREGULATIONS          CENTRALOFFICE     

 01/09/83       0         POSS OFNEGOTIABLES           CENTRAL OFFICE     

 06/30/88      15        POSS OFCONTRABAND           FLORIDA STATE PRISON

 11/22/91      30        DISORDERLYCONDUCT           FLORIDASTATE PRISON

 11/02/94       0        POSS OFNARCOTICS                UNION C. I.        

 11/02/98       0         UNAUTH USE OFDRUGS          UNION C.I.        

 11/28/01       0         UNAUTH USEOF DRUGS          UNION C.I.        




Report Date:     04/25/02         NMP

Approved:        07/15/02         WS

Updated:          02/12/10         CAR