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
ByrdMilford 085488CCRC-SCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
3/20/2006FSC06-5393.850 Appeal
1/30/2008FSC06-539Initial brief
4/21/2009FSC06-539Motion for rehearing
7/9/2009FSC06-539Rehearing denied
7/27/2009FSC06-539Mandate issued
11/29/2010CC81-10517Successive motion to vacate judgments of conviction and sentence
12/7/2010CC81-10517Motion denied without prejudice
12/20/2010CC81-10517Motion for rehearing
3/3/2011CC81-10517Motion for rehearing granted in part
3/10/2011USDC96-771Motion to stay proceedings

Current Attorney

Last NameFirst NameCityAddressZipPhoneEMail
McClainMartin J.Wilton Manors, FL141 N.E. 30th St.33334-1064305/984-8344Email


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.


BYRD, Milford (W/M)

DC #   085488

DOB: 09/11/49


Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, Hillsborough County, Case#81-10517

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable F. Dennis Alarvez

Trial Attorneys: Frank T. Johnson & Fred Buckine – Private  

Attorneys, Direct Appeal: W.C McLain & Karla J. Staker – Assistant Public Defenders

Attorneys, Collateral Appeals: Martin McClain &Christine Spuedas – CCRC-S


Date of Offense:          10/12/81 

Date of Sentence:        08/13/82


Circumstances of Offense:


Milford Byrd was convicted and sentenced to death for themurder of his wife, Debra Byrd, on 10/12/81.


Debra Byrd was found strangled to death at the Tampa motelthat she and her husband managed on the morning of 10/13/81.  Medicalexaminers discovered that Debra had suffered from many non-fatal woundsincluding scalp lacerations, bruises and four gunshot wounds.


According to the statements he made to police, Byrd claimedhe had gone to the gym and to a couple of bars the night of the murder, andupon returning home at 6:45 a.m., he found his wife dead.  Soon after themurder, Byrd was inquiring about his wife’s $100,000 life insurance policy andhow long it would take to settle the claim.


On 10/27/81, Ronald Sullivan, who resided at Byrd’s motel,was arrested for a parole violation and subsequently charged with Debra’smurder. Stemming from Sullivan’s statements to police, Byrd was arrestedin connection with Debra’s murder on 10/28/81.  Police officers arrestedByrd on probable cause, without a warrant. 


At the police station, Byrd claimed that he would make astatement about the murder if he could speak to his girlfriend privately.Detectives relented, and after speaking with his girlfriend, Byrd relayed thefollowing information about Debra’s murder: Byrd had fallen in love with hiscurrent girlfriend, and Debra refused to grant him a divorce. Byrdconfessed that he approached Sullivan and his roommate, James Endress, about killing his wife. Byrd offered them $5,000each to arrange the murder and make it look like a robbery. Byrd claimed thathe was not present when the murder was committed.


Sullivan turned State’s evidence in exchange for anegotiated plea and testified against Byrd at his trial. Sullivan claimed thatByrd was, in fact, present at the time of the murder and that he, Endress and Byrd all took turns choking Debra.


Codefendant Information:


Ronald Sullivan was sentenced to 10 years for Second-DegreeMurder on 06/24/83 for his role in the murder of Debra Byrd.


James Endress was sentenced tolife in prison for First-Degree Murder on 10/20/83.


Trial Summary:


10/28/81         Defendant arrested.

11/12/81         Defendant indicted on the following:

                                   Count I:            FirstDegree Murder

11/24/81         The defendant entered a written plea of “not guilty.”

07/23/82         The jury found the defendant guilty of First-Degree Murder.

07/26/82         Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 12 to 0 majority, voted for the deathpenalty.

08/13/82         The defendant was sentenced to the following:

                                   Count I:            FirstDegree Murder - Death


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court - Direct Appeal

FSC #62,545

481 So. 2d 468


08/27/82         Appeal filed.

11/14/85         FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence of death.

02/06/86         Rehearing denied.


United States Supreme Court - Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC #85-6675

476 U.S. 1153


04/04/86         Petition filed.

05/27/86         Petition denied.


State Circuit Court - 3.850 Motion

CC #81-10517


05/27/88         Motion filed.

07/11/89         Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court - 3.850 Appeal

FSC #74,691

597 So. 2d 252


09/08/89         Appeal filed.

02/20/92         FSC affirmed the denial of Byrd’s 3.850 Motion.

05/26/92         Rehearing denied.

05/26/92         Mandate issued.


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

USDC #92-1042-Civ-T-23B


07/27/92         Petition filed.

03/31/94         Petition denied.


Florida Supreme Court - Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC #83,163

655 So. 2d 67


02/09/94         Petition filed.

01/26/95         Petition denied.

06/01/95         Rehearing denied.


United States Supreme Court - Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC #95-7071

516 U.S. 1175


12/12/95         Petition filed.

03/18/96         Petition denied.


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

USDC #96-771


04/18/96         Petition filed.

09/23/96         Petition was administratively closed.

09/28/01         Case reopened.

02/12/02         Amended petition filed.

07/22/02         Case administratively closed pending the final decision in the



State Circuit Court - 3.850 Motion

CC #81-10517


03/25/02         Motion filed.

02/10/04         Evidentiary Hearing held.

11/05/04         Evidentiary Hearing held.

08/01/05         CC denied motion.


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 06-539

14 So.3d 921


03/20/06         Petition filed.

04/02/09         Petition denied.

07/09/09         Rehearing denied.     

07/27/09         Mandate issued.     


State Circuit Court – Successive Motion to VacateJudgments of Conviction and Sentence

CC #81-10517



11/29/10          Motionfiled.

12/07/10          Motiondismissed without prejudice.

12/20/10          Motionfor rehearing.

03/03/11          Motionfor rehearing granted in part.



Factors Contributing to the Delay in the Imposition ofthe Sentence:


Byrd’s Direct Appeal took over three years to complete.


Case Information:


Byrd filed his Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on08/27/82.  Byrd claimed in his appeal that his confession should have beensuppressed because it was not given voluntarily.  After examination, theFlorida Supreme Court ruled that Byrd’s arrest and confession werelawful.  Byrd also argued the application of non-statutory aggravating andmitigating factors in his case.  Additionally, he claimed that the murderwas not committed for pecuniary gain or “heinous, atrocious and cruel.” The Florida Supreme Court summarily denied all claims and affirmed theconviction and sentence on 11/14/85.


On 04/04/86, Byrd filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari inthe United States Supreme Court, which was denied on 05/27/86.


Next, Byrd filed a Motion to Vacate Judgment and Sentence(3.850) in the State Circuit Court on 05/27/88.  That motion was denied on07/11/89.  Byrd filed an appeal of that decision in the Florida SupremeCourt on 09/08/89.  The court affirmed the denial of Byrd’s 3.850 on02/20/92.


Byrd filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in theUnited States District Court, Middle District, on 07/27/92.  That petitionwas denied on 03/31/94.


Byrd then filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in theFlorida Supreme Court on 02/09/94.  The Florida Supreme Court denied thepetition on 01/26/95.


On 12/12/95, Byrd filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari inthe United States Supreme Court, which was denied on 03/18/96.


Byrd again filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in theUnited States District Court, Middle District, on 04/18/96.  The petitionwas administratively closed on 09/23/99.  Byrd’s case was reopened and anamended petition was filed on 02/12/02.  The case was administrativelyclosed on 7/22/02 pending the final decision in the Bottoson/Kingcases.


On 03/25/02, Byrd filed a 3.850 Motion in the State CircuitCourt that was denied on 08/01/05. 


Byrd filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in theFlorida Supreme Court on 03/20/06 that was denied on 04/02/09. On 07/27/09, amandate was issued.


On 11/29/10, Byrd filed a successive motion to vacate judgmentsof convictions and sentence in the Circuit Court. That motion was deniedwithout prejudice on 12/07/10. On 12/20/10, Byrd filed a motion for rehearing.That motion was granted in part on 03/03/11.


Institutional Adjustment: 


DATE        DAYS                 VIOLATION                    LOCATION      

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

01/13/87         45            ASSAULTSOR ATTEMPT           FSP

06/26/94         0              POSS OF NARCOTICS            UNIONC. I.        

05/23/05         0             DISRESP.TOOFFICIALS        UNION C.I.



12/05/01 – ew

12/19/01 – approved – ws

03/17/11 – updated – jjk