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Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
TrotterMelvin 573461CCRC-MCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
7/2/2008FSC08-12543.851 appeal filed
9/22/2008FSC08-1254Initial brief filed
10/31/2008FSC08-1254Answer brief filed
4/30/2009FSC08-1254Disposition affirmed
10/13/2008USSC08-6797Petition for Writ of Certiorari filed
11/13/2008USSC08-6797State's Response brief filed
12/15/2008USSC08-6797Petition denied

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 changeand may not reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not berelied upon for statistical or legal purposes.


TROTTER, Melvin (B/M)

DC#    573461

DOB: 12/29/60


­­­Twelfth Judicial Circuit, Manatee County, Case #86-1225

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Alan R. Dakan

Resentencing Judge:  The Honorable Eugene L. Eastmoore

Attorney, Trial: Jim Slater – Assistant Public Defender

Attorney, Direct Appeal (1st and 2nd): Douglas S. Connor –Assistant Public Defender

Attorneys, Collateral Appeals:  Peter Cannon &Carol Rodriguez – CCRC-M


Date of Offense: 06/16/86

Date of Sentence: 05/18/87

Date of Resentence: 07/23/93


Circumstances of Offense:


On 06/16/86, Melvin Trotter strangled and stabbed grocerystore owner, Virgie Langford six times in the right side and once in the left,which disemboweled her. 


Elenora Oates testified that she saw Trotter running fromthe direction of the Langford’s store on 06/16/86.  Trotter asked Oates ifshe knew where to buy crack-cocaine.  Oates went with Trotter to buycrack-cocaine and later accompanied Trotter to his mother’s home.  Oatesand Trotter spent the afternoon smoking crack-cocaine and watchingtelevision.  During that afternoon, Oates helped Trotter count money andfood stamps, which he had tied in a red bandanna.  Trotter told Oates thathe received the money and food stamps for doing a job. 


A truck driver found Langford after the attack, and she wasstill alive.  Langford was able to answer questions and described herattacker as a short black man wearing a Tropicana employee badge.  She wastransported to the hospital and underwent an operation; however, Langford diedlater that night from cardiac arrest, which resulted from Langford’sinjuries. 


The descriptions given by both the victim and witnessmatched that of Trotter.  Specifically, the employee identification tagled police to inquire about an employee named “Melvin” at Tropicana. Furthermore, Trotter’s handprint was found on the meat cooler.  The policelater retrieved a t-shirt from Trotter’s residence with a bloodstain on itmatching the victim’s blood type.


Additional Information:


Trotter is a child that is the result of rape.  He grewup fatherless and suffered from emotional deprivation and physical abuse fromhis alcoholic mother.  He was placed into foster care when he was nineyears old.  While in foster care, his foster father was placed in jail foraggravated battery and he was raised solely by his foster mother.  Trotterclaims that his foster care was abusive and unhealthy. The only close familialrelationship Trotter ever had was with his sister.  While Trotter was inhis late teens his sister was violently killed by gunshot.     


Trotter was interviewed by a clinical psychiatrist afterbeing arrested.  The psychiatrist concluded that Trotter had an I.Q. inthe range of 72.  He reported that Trotter is a slow learner, has impairedcommon sense, and is unable to plan or think ahead and is also unable toconsider the consequences of his behavior.  The psychiatrist describedTrotter as someone who would not become violent unless he was in a situationwhich he perceived to be violent.  He also noted that Trotter’s sense ofreality could be distorted and his inhibition reduced due to his cocaine use.



Prison Sentence History:

Offense Date


Sentence Date


Case No.

Sentence Length


Burglary in Other State




6 Months


Burglary of Occupied Dwelling




2.5 Years


Robbery w/ Deadly Weapon




2.5 Years


Robbery w/ Deadly Weapon




12 Years



Manatee County Circuit Court #85-0463


On 01/13/85, Melvin Trotter and an accomplice kicked in thefront door of E. Little’s residence.  Trotter held Little down while hisaccomplice ransacked the room looking for money.  Trotter was convicted ofBurglary and Robbery and sentenced to two and one-half year sentences on06/11/87.


Manatee County Circuit Court #86-1240


In addition to the murder of Virgie Langford on 06/16/86,Trotter removed $100 and more than $30 in food stamps from the register inLangford’s store.  Trotter was sentenced to twelve years for Robbery witha Weapon.


Trial Summary:


06/20/86         Trotter was indicted on the following counts:

                                   Count I:          First-Degree Murder (Virgie Langford)

04/07/87         Trotter was found guilty for Count I of the indictment.

04/09/87         Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 9 to 3 majority, voted for the

death penalty.

05/18/87         Trotter was sentenced as follows:

                                   Count I:          First-Degree Murder (Virgie Langford) – Death

12/20/90         FSC affirmed the conviction but reversed the sentence and remanded for


04/21/93         While on remand from the Florida Supreme Court for resentencing, the

jury voted, by an11 to 1 majority, for the death penalty.

05/23/93         Trotter was sentenced as follows:

                                   Count I:          First-Degree Murder (Virgie Langford) – Death


Appeals Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal (I)

FSC #70,714

576 So. 2d 691


06/18/87         Appeal filed.

12/20/90         FSC affirmed the conviction but reversed the sentence and remanded for


04/04/91         Rehearing denied.

05/06/91         Mandate issued.


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal (II)

FSC #82,142

690 So. 2d 1234


07/28/93         Appeal filed.

12/19/96         FSC affirmed the sentence.

04/04/97         Rehearing denied.

05/05/97         Mandate issued.


U.S. Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC #97-5118

522 U.S. 876


07/02/97         Petition filed.

10/06/97         USSC denied the petition.


Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC #86-1225


06/08/98                     Motion filed.

04/29/02-05/03/02      Evidentiary hearing held.

06/27/02                     Evidentiary hearing held.

03/20/03                     Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC #03-735

932 So.2d 1045


04/24/03         Appeal filed.

05/25/06         The FSC affirmed the denial of Trotter’s 3.850 Motion.

06/15/06         Mandate issued.


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC #03-1976

932 So.2d 1045


11/10/03         Petition filed.

05/25/06         Petition denied.

06/15/06         Mandate issued.


Circuit Court – 3.202 Motion

CC# 86-1225-F


11/26/04         Motion filed.

07/08/05         Motion denied.


U.S. District Court, Middle District – Petition forWrit of Habeas Corpus

USDC# 06-1872


10/11/06         Petition filed.

10/25/06         Petition amended.

11/06/07         Petition denied.


Circuit Court – 3.851 Motion

CC# 86-1225-F


10/15/07         Motion filed.

12/26/07         Motion amended.

06/18/08         Motion denied.


United States Court of Appeals, 11th – Habeas Appeal

USCA# 07-15755P

535 F.3d 1286


01/17/08         Appeal filed.

07/25/08         Denial affirmed.

10/01/08         Mandate entered.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.851 Appeal

FSC# 08-1254

10 So.3d 633


07/02/08         Appeal filed.

04/30/09         Denial affirmed.


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC# 08-6797

129 S.Ct. 767


10/13/08         Petition filed.

12/15/08         Petition denied.


Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition ofSentence:


The first Direct Appeal was pending for over three yearsprior to a decision being rendered.  On the first Direct Appeal, theFlorida Supreme remanded the case for resentencing.  The second DirectAppeal was pending for more than three years prior to a decision beingrendered.  The first 3.850 Motion was pending from 06/08/98 – 03/20/03.


Case Information:


Trotter filed his first Direct Appeal in the Florida SupremeCourt on 06/18/87.  The issues addressed included that the trial courterred in mishandling juror selection, that the trial court did not investigateextraneous influences on the jury, that the trial court did not dismiss theprosecutor who had previously defended Trotter in a criminal matter, that thetrial court mishandled mitigating factors, and that the trial court found themurder to be heinous, atrocious, or cruel.  The Florida Supreme  Court didnot find errors that warranted reversing the conviction; however, the FloridaSupreme Court found that the trial court erred in handling the aggravatingfactors and reversed the sentence of death and remanded for resentencing on12/20/90.  Rehearing was denied on 04/04/91.  A mandate was issued on05/06/91.


The trial court held a resentencing hearing, and the juryvoted for death by a 11 to 1 majority on 04/21/93.  Trotter was sentencedto death on 07/23/93.


Trotter filed his second Direct Appeal in the FloridaSupreme Court on 07/28/93.  The issues addressed included that the trialcourt mishandled aggravating factors.  The Florida Supreme Court did notfind errors that warranted reversing the sentence and affirmed the sentence on12/19/96.  Rehearing was denied on 04/04/97.  A mandate was issued on05/05/97.


Trotter filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in theUnited States Supreme Court on 07/02/97.  The petition was denied on10/06/97.


On 06/08/98, Trotter filed a 3.850 Motion in the CircuitCourt.  Evidentiary hearings were held from 04/29/02 to 05/03/02 and06/27/02.  The motion was denied on 03/20/03.


Trotter filed a 3.850 Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on04/24/03.  Trotter raised issues stating he is mentally retarded and thedeath sentence is disproportionate.  Trotter also argued ineffectiveassistance of counsel.  The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the denial ofTrotter’s 3.850 Motion on 05/25/06.


Trotter filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in theFlorida Supreme Court on 11/10/03.  Trotter first claimed that the deathsentence is unconstitutional.  Second, he claimed he may be incompetent atthe time of execution.  The court denied both claims stating that thesecond cannot be reviewed until after a death warrant is signed. Trotter’s petition was denied on 05/25/06.


On 11/26/04, Trotter filed a 3.202 Motion in the CircuitCourt, which was denied on 07/08/05.


Trotter filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in theU.S. District Court, Middle District, on 10/11/06 and amended the petition on10/25/06.  This petition was denied on 11/06/07.


On 10/15/07, Trotter filed a 3.851 motion in the CircuitCourt and an amended motion of the same on 12/26/07.  This motion wasdenied in the Circuit Court on 06/18/08.


On 01/17/08, Trotter appealed the District Court’s decisionof his Writ of Habeas Corpus.  On 07/25/08, the United States Court ofAppeal affirmed the District Court’s decision and denied Trotter’s Habeasappeal.  On 10/01/08, the District Court entered a Mandate in this case.


On 07/02/08, Trotter filed a 3.851 appeal in the FloridaSupreme Court.  On 04/30/09, the Florida Supreme Court denied the appeal.


On 10/13/08, Trotter filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorariin the United States Supreme Court.  The petition was denied on 12/15/08.


Institutional Adjustment:















Report Date:  04/10/02          SQ

Approved:      07/03/02          WS

Updated:        09/16/09          EMJ