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
JohnsonRichard K51342CCRC-SCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
2/23/2009CC01-793Status Conference
4/21/2009CC01-7933.851 Motion
9/30/2009CC01-793Status Conference
1/11/2010CC01-793Huff Hearing
3/16/2010CC01-793Huff Hearing
8/3/2010CC01-793Evidentiary Hearing
10/6/2004FSC04-1972Direct Appeal
7/5/2007FSC04-1972Convictions and sentences affirmed
12/13/2007FSC04-1972Mandate issued
2/15/2008USSC07-9402Certiorari petition
4/21/2008USSC07-9402Petition 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. 


JOHNSON, Richard Allen (W/M)

DC# K51342

DOB:  11/16/1977


19th Judicial Circuit, St. Lucie County Case #01-000793

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Burton C. Conner

Attorney, Trial: Robert Stone and Tom Garland −Private

Attorney, Direct Appeal: Carey Haughwout − PublicDefender & Gary Lee Caldwell − Assistant Public Defender

Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Craig Trocino – CCRC-S


Date of Offense: 02/15/01

Date of Sentence: 08/09/04


Circumstances of Offense:


Richard Johnson met Tammy Hagin,the victim, at a nightclub in Port St. Lucie on the evening of February 14,2001.  The two spent several hours together.  They left the club togo to Johnson’s residence for the remainder of the evening.  On February15, 2001, Johnson’s roommate, John Vitale, agreed to take Hagin home to VeroBeach; they were accompanied by Johnson.  The three then went to SavannasPreserve State Park, and then returned to Johnson’s residence.


An argument ensued. A witnesstestified that she heard a woman saying “I want to go home.  Just let mego.”  This exchange took place while Johnson and Vitale prevented Haginfrom exiting the car by holding the car doors closed.  Eventually Haginwas allowed to exit the vehicle, but Johnson grabbed Hagin from behind, pickedher up, and took her inside the house.


One of Johnson’s roommatestestified that he saw Johnson yanking a woman into his room, after which thehouse became quiet.  According to Vitale, Johnson eventually emerged fromhis room, and told Vitale that Hagin was “gone”.  When pressed, Johnsonsaid he had broken Hagin’s neck.   


After wrapping Hagin’s body in adeflated air mattress, Johnson and Vitale placed the body in the trunk ofVitale’s car.  The two used money from Hagin’s purse to buy a largecooler, concrete blocks, a chain, and a padlock.  They sank the body inseveral feet of water at the Savannas Preserve State Park. Hagin’s body wasfound three days later by a fisherman.


Hagin died ofstrangulation.  Her killer used both a ligature and bare hands.  BothVitale and Johnson were arrested within days. 


Codefendant Information:


John Vitale pled guilty toaccessory to murder, and received a 22-year sentence.


Additional Information:


Duringthe course of testimony, Vitale admitted to writing Johnson’s family andconfessing to the murder.  While testifying, Vitale also admitted that hewas in love with Johnson.


Prior Incarceration History in the State of Florida:



Offense Date


Sentence Date


Case No.

Community Supervision Length








1Y 0M 0D
1Y 0M 0D








1Y 0M 0D






Trial Summary:


03/07/01         Indicted as follows:

                                   Count I:           First-DegreeMurder

                                   Count II:         Kidnapping

                                   Count III:        Sexual Battery

                                   Count IV:        Petit Theft

06/17/04         Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment.

06/21/04         Jury recommended death by a vote of 11-1.

08/09/04         Sentenced as follows:

                                   Count I:          First-Degree Murder - Death Sentence

                                   Count II:         Kidnapping - 30 years

                                   Count III:        Sexual Battery - Life

                                   Count IV:        Petit Theft – 60 days




Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 04-1972

969 So. 2d 938


10/06/04         Appeal filed.

07/05/07         Appeal denied.

07/19/07         Motion for rehearing.

11/27/07         Rehearing denied.

12/13/07         Mandate issued.


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC# 07-9402

128 S. Ct. 2056


02/15/08         Petition filed.

04/21/08         Petition denied.


State Circuit Court – 3.851 Motion

CC# 01-000793


04/21/09         Motion filed.



Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition ofSentence:


The appeals process iscurrently within acceptable timeframes.



Case Information:


Duringthe penalty phase, the State Circuit Court instructed the jury to consider thefollowing three aggravating factors: Johnson was under felony community controlwhen the murder was committed; the murder was committed during the commissionof sexual battery, kidnapping, or both; and the killing was especiallyheinous.  At sentencing, the court rejected two mental statutorymitigating circumstances, as well as the age mitigator.  However, thecourt did accept the statutory mitigator of no significant criminal history, inaddition to seven nonstatutory mitigators. 


Upondirect appeal, Johnson claimed the following eight errors:  grant ofchallenge for cause to a potential juror over defense objection; admission ofvictim’s statement as she was being strangled; prosecution by the State on arobbery count charged by information rather than indictment; impropercross-examination of the defendant; sufficiency of the evidence of kidnapping,sexual battery, and felony murder; proportionality of death sentence;imposition of a death sentence after the defendant rejected a plea bargain fora life sentence; and application of the HAC aggravator  A direct appealwas filed in the Florida Supreme Court on 10/06/04. The appeal was denied on07/05/07. A mandate was issued by the Florida Supreme Court on 12/13/07.


On02/15/08, Johnson filed a petition for Writ of Certiorari with the UnitedStates Supreme Court. The petition was denied on 04/21/08.


On04/21/09, Johnson filed a 3.851 Motion in the state circuit court. Thispetition is pending.




Report Date:  12/18/07          KLH

Approved:      12/20/07          KLH

Updated:        05/02/11         CAR