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Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
SalazarNeil 128019CCRC-SCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
2/8/2010CC00-003683.851 Motion filed
4/12/2010CC00-00368State's response filed
4/29/2010CC00-00368Huffington Hearing held
9/1/2010CC00-00368Amended motion filed
9/17/2010CC00-00368State's response filed
7/13/2006FSC06-1381Direct Appeal
7/19/2007FSC06-1381Initial brief filed
11/1/2007FSC06-1381Answer brief filed
1/2/2008FSC06-1381Reply brief filed
4/7/2008FSC06-1381Oral Arguments held
7/10/2008FSC06-1381Disposition affirmed, sentence and conviction upheld
7/24/2008FSC06-1381Motion for Rehearing filed
9/17/2008FSC06-1381Rehearing denied
10/3/2008FSC06-1381Mandate entered
12/11/2008USSC08-7801Certiorari Petition filed
2/23/2009USSC08-7801Petition denied

Current Attorney


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 upon for statistical or legal purposes. 



DC#    128019

DOB: 08/19/67


­­­Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, Okeechobee County Case#00-00368

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Judge Sherwood Bauer, Jr.

Attorney, Trial: Russell Akins – Public Defender’s Office

Attorney, Direct Appeal: Gary Lee Caldwell – PublicDefender’s Office

Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Rachel Day – CCRC-S


Date of Offense: 06/26/00

Date of Sentence: 05/30/06


Circumstances of Offense:


On May 30, 2000, Neil Salazar was sentenced to death for themurder of Evelyn Nutter and the attempted murder of Ronze Cummings.


At the time of the murders, Salazar was living with FredCummings and Cummings’ girlfriend (Shirleen Baker) in Miami, Florida. Salazarwas involved in drug trafficking and had frequently discussed his dealings inthe home where Fred Cummings’ cousin, Julius Hatcher, was frequentlypresent.  On June 26, 2000, Salazar had become paranoid that Hatcher wasplanning to turn him over to the FBI, and he confronted Hatcher when he visitedthe Cummings’ home that evening.  He threatened Hatcher with a machine gunand bound him with duct tape, telling him he would have to do something toprove his trustworthiness.  Salazar left Hatcher in an upstairs bedroomfor a few hours, during which time Fred Cummings and Shirleen Baker returned tothe house.  Later, Salazar brought Hatcher outside and forced him into arented car.  Salazar and Baker drove north on Interstate 95, cuttingHatcher loose as they passed through Pompano Beach.  At approximately11:00 p.m., the trio arrived at the Fort Drum home of Evelyn Nutter and RonzeCummings, another cousin of Hatcher and Fred Cummings.


Upon arrival, Salazar dismantled the back porch light andbroke the lock on the door.  Salazar and Hatcher entered the home as Ronzeand Nutter were sitting in the living room watching television with theirtwo-year-old son.  Salazar ordered the occupants to lie on the floor whileHatcher bound their hands and feet with duct tape.  For about 15 minutes,Salazar ranted about his failing drug trafficking business and accused thecouple of communicating with the FBI.  After threatening to kill Hatcherif he refused to cooperate, he ordered Hatcher to place plastic shopping bagsover their heads.  When the couple did not suffocate as Salazar hadexpected, he ordered Hatcher to cut their throats.  When he refused,Salazar gave Hatcher a .38-caliber revolver and ordered him to hold a pillow againsttheir heads and shoot them.  Cummings and Nutter were taken into separaterooms where Hatcher shot each one in the head.  Nutter died almostinstantly.  Cummings survived his two gun shots to his head and laterwalked to a nearby orange grove office to call 911.  Salazar had givenHatcher the keys to Cummings’ and Nutter’s car and told him to follow Baker andhim back to Miami.


Approximately one week after Cummings was released from thehospital, Julius Hatcher presented himself at Miami-Dade Police Department andconfessed to the shootings.  His confession was largely consistent withCummings’ description of the events.  To receive immunity from the deathpenalty, Hatcher provided testimony against Salazar at trial.  Hatcherclaimed that Salazar coerced him into committing the murders.  Hatchersaid that he had taped the victims and also shot them, all at the command ofSalazar.  Cummings also stated that Salazar was in charge of the incident,giving orders to Hatcher and that he heard him use threats if he failed tocomply. 


Codefendant Information:


Hatcher, Julius


On 11/06/06, Julius Hatcher was convicted of second-degreemurder (Evelyn Nutter), attempted murder (Ronze Cummings), armed trespassing,and grand theft of a motor vehicle.  He received two life sentences forthe murder and attempted murder convictions and five-year sentences for thetrespassing and theft convictions.


Trial Summary:


07/19/00         Indicted as follows:

                                   Count I:           First-DegreeMurder (Evelyn Nutter)

                                   Count II:         AttemptedFirst-Degree Murder (Ronze Cummings)

                                   Count III:        Armed Burglary of aDwelling

                                   Count IV:        Grand Theft Auto

03/09/06         Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment.

03/17/06         Jury recommended death by a vote of 12-0.

05/30/06         Sentenced as follows:

                                   Count I:          First-Degree Murder – Death

                                   Count II:         AttemptedFirst-Degree Murder – Life

                                   Count III:        Armed Burglary – Life

                                   Count IV:        Grand Theft Auto – 5 Years


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 06-1381

991 So.2d 364


07/13/06         Directappeal filed

07/10/08         Dispositionaffirmed

07/24/08        Motion for Rehearing filed

09/17/08         Rehearingdenied

10/03/08         Mandateentered


United States Supreme Court – Certiorari Petition

USSC# 08-7801

129 S.Ct. 1347


12/11/08         Petitionfiled

02/23/09         Petitiondenied


Circuit Court – 3.851 Motion

CC# 00-00368



02/08/10          Motion filed

09/01/10          Amended motion filed





Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition ofSentence:


Imposition of sentence is progressing normally.


Case Information:


On 07/13/06, Salazar filed a Direct Appeal in the FloridaSupreme Court.  In his Initial Brief, Salazar cited the following issueson appeal: (1) the trial court erred in denying the defense Motion for Mistrialduring the State’s final argument when the State told jurors that it had made adeal with Hatcher so that Salazar would not “walk” lest there be anotherattempt on Ronze Cummings’ life; (2) the trial court erred in letting the Statepresent Detective Brock’s testimony that he was “trying to find the truth” inhis investigation; (3) the trial court erred in finding the cold, calculated,and premeditated (CCP) aggravating factor; (4) the trial court erred inallowing the appellee to argue to the jury that Cummings and Hatcher wereterrorized during the burglary; (5) the trial court erred in overrulingSalazar’s objection to the jury instruction on the cold, calculated, andpremeditated (CCP) circumstance on the ground that it failed to require thatthe State prove that Salazar intended to kill before the crime began; and (6)Florida’s death penalty statute is unconstitutional.  On 07/10/08, theFlorida Supreme Court affirmed the disposition of the Trial Court.  On07/24/08, Salazar filed a Motion for Rehearing, which was denied on09/17/08.  The mandate was entered 10/03/08.


On 12/11/08, Salazar filed a Certiorari Petition in theUnited States Supreme Court.  On 02/23/09, the United States Supreme Courtdenied this petition.


Salazar filed a 3.851 Motion in the Circuit Court on02/08/10. An amended motion was filed on 09/01/10. This case is currentlypending.




Report Date:  10/16/08          AEH

Approved:      10/20/08          RM

Updated:         09/21/10         EMJ