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
AtwaterJeffrey 120467CCRC-MCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
3/27/2009USSC08-10635Certiorari petition
10/5/2009USSC08-10635Cert denied
3/24/2008FSC08-5653.850 Appeal
10/19/2007CC89-132993.850 Motion
2/7/2008CC89-13299Motion denied
5/16/2008CC89-13299Status Conference

Current Attorney

Last NameFirst NameCityAddressZipPhoneEMail
GruberMark S.Tampa, FL3801 Corporex Park Dr Ste 21033619813/740-3544Email


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 this informationregularly.  This information, however, is subject to change and may notreflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not be relied on forstatistical or legal purposes.


ATWATER, Jeffrey (W/M)

DC #    120467

DOB:   12/24/63 


Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pinellas County, Case #89-13299

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable R. Grable Stoutamire

Trial Attorneys: John White, Esq. & MichaelSchwartzberg, Esq. – Private

Attorney, Direct Appeal: Steven Krosschell – AssistantPublic Defender

Attorney, Collateral Appeal: Mark Gruber, David Hendry,& Maria Perinetti – CCRC-M


Date of Offense:          08/11/89

Date of Sentence:        06/25/90         



Circumstances of Offense:


Jeffrey Atwater, the defendant, was convicted and sentencedto death for the murder of Ken Smith on 08/11/89. 


On the day of the murder, Atwater attempted to enter theJohn Knox Apartment Complex in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Upon reaching thesecurity gate, Atwater told the guard that he was Smith’s grandson andfabricated the purpose of his visit.  The defendant entered Smith’sapartment and proceeded to his room.  After 20 minutes, Atwater left theapartment and Smith’s body was discovered later that day.  ApparentlySmith had been robbed as well because his pockets were turned inside out andall of his money was missing.


After the murder, Atwater reportedly told several peoplethat he killed Smith, and he was subsequently arrested later that day.


There was evidence that Atwater was looking for Smith for upto three days prior to his murder.  Apparently, Atwater had obtained moneyfrom Smith before, but Smith was fearful of him, and had vowed never to givehim money again.


At trial, a medical examiner testified that 64-year-oldSmith had been stabbed over 40 times, and there was evidence he was beatenprior to or during the killing.



Additional Information:


Jeffrey Atwater had no previous criminal history in Floridaprior to the robbery and murder of Ken Smith.



Trial Summary:


08/11/89         Defendant arrested.

09/07/89         Defendant indicted on:

                                   Count I:           First-Degree Murder

                                   Count II:           Robbery with aDeadly Weapon

05/04/90         The jury found the defendant guilty on counts I & II.

05/17/90         Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by an 11 to 1 majority, voted for the deathpenalty.

06/25/90         The defendant was sentenced as followed:

                                   Count I:           First-Degree Murder – Death

                                   Count II:           Robbery with aDeadly Weapon – 10 years



Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court - Direct Appeal

FSC #76,327

626 So. 2d. 1325


07/18/90         Appeal filed.

09/16/93         FSC affirmed the convictions and sentence of Death.

11/29/93         Rehearing denied.

12/29/93         Mandate issued.


United States Supreme Court - Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC #93-7986

511 U.S. 1046


02/22/94         Petition filed.

04/18/94         Petition denied.


State Circuit Court - 3.850 Motion

CC #89-13299


10/16/95         Motion filed.

01/06/99         Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court - 3.850 Appeal

FSC #94,865

788 So. 2d. 223


11/22/99         Appeal filed

06/07/01         FSC affirmed the denial of the 3.850 Motion.

07/20/01         Mandate issued. 


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC #99,179

788 So. 2d. 223


12/22/99         Petition filed.

06/07/01         Petition denied.

07/20/01         Mandate issued.


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

USDC #02-1103


06/21/02         Petition filed.

08/23/02         Administratively closed pending the final decision in the Bottoson/King cases.

01/13/03         Petition re-opened.

10/21/03         Petition denied.


UnitedStates Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit – Habeas Appeal

USCA #03-16259

451 F. 3d 799


12/04/03         Notice of Appeal filed.

06/12/06         USCA affirmed denial of petition.


StateCircuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC #89-13299


12/08/03         Motion filed.

12/19/03         State’s Response

04/20/04         Motion denied.


FloridaSupreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC #SC04-937

892So. 2d 1011


06/01/04         Appeal filed.

12/20/04         Denial affirmed.


U.S. SupremeCourt – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC# 06-7287

127 S. Ct. 951


10/25/06         Petition filed.

01/08/07         Petition denied.


StateCircuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC #89-13299


10/19/07         Successive Motion filed.

02/07/08         Motion denied.


FloridaSupreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC #08-565

6 So. 3d 51


03/24/08         Appeal filed.

02/27/09         Appeal denied.


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

USSC# 08-10635

130 S.Ct. 113


03/27/09          Petitionfiled.

10/05/09          Petitiondenied.



Factors Contributing to the Delay in the Imposition ofthe Sentence:


Atwater has used many of his post-conviction relief optionsat the State level, with each motion/appeal lasting several years. His Direct Appeallasted three years and his 3.850 Motion lasted approximately four years. 



Case Information:


On 07/18/90, Jeffrey Atwater filed a Direct Appeal in theFlorida Supreme Court.  The defendant contends that the trial court erred inpermitting the State to excuse the only black person in the venire by using aperemptory challenge.  He also claimed that the court erred in itstreatment of a juror’s question and that the State did not support itsaccusation of robbery with adequate evidence.  Atwater also challenged theapplication of two aggravating factors; however, the court summarily deniedthose claims as well.  The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the convictionsand sentence on 09/16/93.  The mandate was issued on 12/29/93.


The defendant filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari on02/22/94, which was subsequently denied on 04/18/94.


Atwater filed a 3.850 Motion in Circuit Court on10/16/95.  The motion was denied on 01/06/99.


Atwater next filed an appeal of his 3.850 Motion in theFlorida Supreme Court on 11/22/99.  That appeal was denied on 06/07/01.


The defendant filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus inthe Florida Supreme Court on 12/22/99.  The petition was also denied on06/07/01.


Atwater filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in theUnited States District Court on 06/21/02.  The petition wasadministratively closed pending the final decision in the Bottoson/Kingcases.  On 01/13/03, the petition was reopened.  Atwater’s HabeasPetition was denied on 10/21/03.  He filed an appeal of that decision inthe United States Court of Appeals on 12/04/03, which is currentlypending.  On 12/05/03, Atwater filed a Motion to Stay pending theresolution of his State proceedings.  On 06/12/06, the USCA affirmed thedenial of the petition.


On 12/08/03, Atwater filed a Successive 3.850 Motion in theState Circuit Court, which was denied on 04/20/04.  He filed an appeal ofthat decision in the Florida Supreme Court, who affirmed the denial on12/20/04.


Atwater filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with theU.S. Supreme Court on 10/25/06 that was denied on 01/08/07.


On 10/19/07, Atwater filed a Successive Motion to Vacate inthe Circuit Court that was denied on 02/07/08.


On 03/24/08, Atwater filed an appeal of his 3.850 Motion inthe Florida Supreme Court.  This appeal was denied on 02/27/09.


On 03/27/09, Atwater filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorariin the U.S. Supreme Court that was denied on 10/05/09.



Institutional Adjustment: JEFFREY ATWATER DC #120467


 DATE           DAYS             VIOLATION                                     LOCATION       

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

01/15/91         10                  DISRESP.TOOFFICIALS                FSP

11/22/91         30                  DISORDERLYCONDUCT               FSP

08/17/92          0                   DISOBEYING ORDER                     FSP

10/22/92          0                   POSS OF NEGOTIABLES                FSP

04/21/93          0                   DISORDERLY CONDUCT               FSP

10/14/99          0                   DISRESP.TO OFFICIALS                UNION C. I.          



10/29/01 – ew

10/31/01 – approved – ws

12/16/09 – updated – kkr