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
BranchEric 313067RegistryCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
3/28/2007USDC06-00486Habeas Corpus

Current Attorney

Last NameFirst NameCityAddressZipPhoneEMail
ReiterMichael P.Venice, FL5313 Layton Dr.34293850/893-4668Email


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.


BRANCH, Eric Scott (W/M)

DC #    313067 

DOB:   02/07/71


First Judicial Circuit, Escambia County, Case #93-870 CF

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Edward Nickinson

Trial Attorney: John L. Allbritton – Private

Attorney, Direct Appeal: David Davis – Assistant PublicDefender

Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Michael Reiter – Registry


Date of Offense:          01/11/93

Date of Sentence:        05/03/94         


Circumstances of Offense:


Eric Scott Branch was convicted and sentenced to death forthe sexual battery and murder of Susan Morris on 01/11/93.


In order to evade Indiana police authorities, Branch plannedto abandon his vehicle and steal a car from the University of WestFlorida.  On 01/11/93, Branch attacked Morris in the university parkinglot, and stole her red Toyota.  Morris’ beaten body was discovered not faraway, in a wooded area.  Morris was found nude, with many injuries characteristicof a severe beating and a wooden stick was found broken off in her vagina.


The defendant was arrested in Indiana a few days after themurder.


Additional Information:


On 11/18/94, Branch was sentenced to 30 years for anadditional sexual battery charge in Florida.  This incident, however,occurred prior to the murder for which Branch was sentenced to death.


Branch was also convicted of sexual battery in the state ofIndiana.


Trial Summary:


02/23/93         Defendant indicted on:

                                   Count I:           First-Degree Murder

                                   Count II:           Sexual Battery

                                   Count III:         Grand Theft Auto

03/10/94         The jury found the defendant guilty on all counts.

03/11/94         Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 10 to 2 majority, voted for the

death penalty.

05/03/94         The defendant was sentenced as followed:

                                   Count I:            First-DegreeMurder - Death

                                   Count II:           Sexual Battery– Life in Prison

                                   Count III:         Grand Theft Auto – Fiveyears


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC #83,805

685 So. 2d 1250


06/06/94         Appeal filed.

11/21/96         FSC affirmed the convictions and sentence of death.

01/08/97         Rehearing denied.

02/07/97         Mandate issued.


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC #96-8353

520 U.S. 1218


03/24/97         Petition filed.

05/12/97         Petition denied.


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC #93-870


05/07/98         Motion filed.

04/01/03         Motion amended.

10/10/03         Motion amended.

12/30/04         CC denied Motion.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Motion Appeal

FSC# 05-433

952 So. 2d 470


03/09/05         Appeal filed.

08/31/06         FSC affirmed denial of motion.

03/28/07         Mandate issued.


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 05-1558

952 So. 2d 470


08/31/05         Petition filed.

08/31/06         FSC denied petition.

03/28/07         Mandate issued.


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

USDC # 06-cv-00486


03/28/07          Petition filed.

03/30/10          Petition denied


Factors Contributing to the Delay in the Imposition ofthe Sentence:


Branch’s Direct Appeal took approximately three years todispose of in the Florida Supreme Court.  Branch’s 3.850 Motion was pendingfrom 05/07/98 – 12/30/04. 


Case Information:


Branch filed his Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Courton 06/06/94.  In that appeal, he contended that the trial court erred infailing to grant him a continuance, and in failing to adequately examine hisclaim of incompetent counsel.  Branch also argued the court’s failure togive special jury instructions and the presentation of victim impactevidence.  The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the convictions and sentenceof death on 11/21/96 and the mandate was issued on 02/07/97.


Branch filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the UnitedStates Supreme Court on 03/24/97 that was denied on 05/12/97.


Branch next filed a 3.850 Motion in the State Circuit Courton 05/07/98 and amended the motion on 04/01/03 and 10/10/03.  On 12/30/04,the Circuit Court denied the motion.


Branch filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal with the Florida SupremeCourt on 03/09/05, raising the following issues: ineffective assistance ofcounsel at the guilt and penalty phases and using an Indiana conviction toestablish the prior violent felony aggravator.  On 08/31/06, the FSCaffirmed the denial of the motion. 


Branch filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with theFlorida Supreme Court on 08/31/05, raising the issue of ineffective assistanceof counsel.  On 08/31/06, the FSC denied the petition. 


On 03/28/07, Branch filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus inthe USDC, Northern District, which was denied on 03/30/10.


Institutional Adjustment:



DATE             DAYS            VIOLATION                                     LOCATION     

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

05/07/96         0                    SPOKEN THREATS                         UNION C.I.       

04/26/01         60                  DISOBEYINGORDER                     UNION C.I.       

05/02/01         60                  DISOBEYINGORDER                     UNION C. I.       

03/10/05         0                     DISOBEYINGORDER                     UNION C. I.




11/20/01 – ew

12/06/01 – approved – ws

04/09/10 – updated – kkr