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
LukehartAndrew R 391485RegistryCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
9/23/2009FSC09-1788Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed
12/28/2009FSC09-1788Response filed
2/24/2010FSC09-1788Reply filed
2/11/2011FSC09-1788Oral Arguments held
6/8/2009FSC09-961Appeal filed
9/23/2009FSC09-961Initial brief filed
12/28/2009FSC09-961Answer brief filed
2/24/2010FSC09-961Reply brief filed
2/11/2011FSC09-961Oral Arguments held
9/27/2001CC96026453.850 Motion filed
9/23/2003CC9602645Second Amended
5/9/2007CC9602645Evidentiary Hearing held
4/6/2009CC96026453.850 Motion denied

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 change and maynot reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not be relied uponfor statistical or legal purposes.


LUKEHART, Andrew Richard

DC#    391485

DOB: 04/10/73


Fourth Judicial Circuit, Duval County, Case# 96-2645 CFA

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable William A. Wilkes

Trial Attorneys: Michael Edwards – Private

Attorney, Direct Appeal: Chet Kaufman – Assistant PublicDefender

Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Michael P. Reiter – Registry


Date of Offense: 02/25/96

Date of Sentence: 04/04/97


Circumstances of the Offense:


At the time of the offense, Andrew Richard Lukehart livedwith his girlfriend, Misty Rhue and her two children, Ashley (a two-year-old)and Gabrielle (a five-month-old).  On the afternoon of 02/25/96, Ms. Rhueput Ashley down for a nap in her bedroom, while Lukehart remained in the otherroom with Gabrielle. Around 5 p.m., Ms. Rhue heard her car start and she sawLukehart drive away in her white Oldsmobile.  She also noticed thatGabrielle was not in the house.


Thirty minutes later Ms. Rhue received a call from Lukehart.He stated that an individual in a Blue Chevy Blazer had taken the child fromthe home and he was chasing them in her car. He asked her to call the police.After 20 minutes, Ms. Rhue called the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department. Atapproximately 6:00 p.m., Mr. Mobley, a witness, reported to the Clay CountySheriff’s Department that a car had run off the road close to his home and hecould not find the driver. While an officer from the Jacksonville Sheriff’sDepartment was speaking with Ms. Rhue in her home, she received a call from theClay County Sheriff’s Department. The officer relayed the information that Ms.Rhue’s car had been driven off the road in Clay County, and no one was in thecar at the time it was located.


A search ensued in the surrounding area and neither the babynor driver was found. Helicopters were used in the search, and their presencealerted Mr. Davis, an off duty Florida State Trooper who lived near the area.He went outside and found Lukehart in his front yard. Lukehart walked up toTrooper Davis with his hands up and stated, “I’m the one they are looking for.Read me my rights.” Trooper Davis was not completely abreast of the situation,and he chose to handcuff Lukehart and then notified his dispatcher. An officerfrom the Clay County Sheriff’s office retrieved Lukehart and took him back tothe scene of the abandoned car. The officer kept Lukehart handcuffed and waitedfor an officer from Jacksonville’s Sheriff’s department to interview himbecause he was the only witness to the alleged abduction.


During this period of time, Lukehart made numerous commentsto the officers, such as complaining about Gabrielle soiling her diaper, andwanted to know when he could tell his side of the story. Lukehart stated thathe had placed Gabrielle in the front seat of the Oldsmobile in front of Ms.Rhue’s house and that she had been abducted from the driveway. Lukehart couldnot describe the person who was driving the Blazer.


The police questioned Lukehart at the police station, and hereiterated his second abduction story. Lukehart then stated that he wouldretrace his steps from Ms. Rhue’s home to the area in Clay County with lawenforcement. Lukehart acquiesced that his first story was a lie. He then statedthat the baby had been abducted from a store when he went inside to buy Ms.Rhue and the child some roses. When at the store, the detectives saw that thedetails of the story were inaccurate, and Lukehart changed his story. Lukehartthen took the police to the place where the Oldsmobile had been found and toldthem that was where he had lost the Blazer.


An intensive search was still being conducted for the child.The detective questioned Lukehart again and told him that he did not believethe abduction story. Approximately 18 hours after turning himself in, Lukehartfinally admitted to killing the baby. He stated that had he dropped the childwhile changing her diaper and put her body in a pond in Jacksonville.


Trial Summary:


03/07/96         Defendant indicted on the following chargers:

                                   Count I:          First-Degree Murder

                                   Count II:         Aggravated ChildAbuse

03/08/96         Defendant was arraigned. Defendant stood mute and the court entered a plea ofnot guilty for him.

05/29/96         Public Defender, Lewis Buzzell III, entered a motion to withdraw as counsel

06/06/96         Order allowing the public defender to withdraw and appointing new attorney,Michael Edwards

02/27/97         The Defendant was found guilty on both counts.

03/14/97         The jury recommended the death penalty by a vote of nine to three.

04/04/97         Defendant was sentenced as follows:

                                   Count I:          First-Degree Murder – Death

                                   Count II:         Aggravated ChildAbuse – 15 years, to run concurrent to Count I


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 90,507

776 So. 2d 906


05/12/97         Appeal filed

06/22/00         Original opinion issued

09/28/00         Revised opinion issued. FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence

01/23/01         Rehearing denied

02/26/01         Mandate issued


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC# 00-9578

121 S. Ct. 2561


04/20/01         Petition filed

06/25/01         Petition denied


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# 96-2645 CFA


09/27/01         Motion filed

06/20/02         Amended filed

09/23/03         Second Amended filed

04/06/09         Motion denied


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC# 09-961



06/08/09         Appeal filed


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 09-1788



09/23/09          Petition filed


Factors Contributing to the Delay in Execution ofSentence:


The Direct Appeal was pending in the Florida Supreme Courtfor three years before a decision was rendered.



Case Information:


Lukehart filed a Direct Appeal on 03/12/97 to the FloridaSupreme Court.  The Court issued an opinion on 06/22/00. The originalopinion was withdrawn on 09/28/00 due to the fact that Justice Quince had torecuse herself. Prior to her appointment to the Florida Supreme Court, JusticeQuince had spoken with the Assistant Public Defender handling the directappeal, Chet Kaufman, about the case. A revised opinion was issued on 09/28/00.The Court affirmed the convictions of first-degree murder and aggravatedchild-abuse, and the death sentence, but they remanded the case forresentencing on the aggravated child abuse conviction.  The main claim ofthe appeal was the trial court’s denial to suppress statements made by Lukehartto law enforcement officers. Lukehart claimed that the statements were notvoluntarily made. The Court found no error in the trial court’s denial tosuppress the statements. Due to the fact that the trial court failed to fillout the sentencing guidelines score sheet, the Court remanded the case forresentencing and directed the trial court to properly complete the guidelinesscore sheet. The rehearing was denied on 01/23/01 and the mandate was issued on02/26/01.


Lukehart filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to theUnites Stated Supreme Court on 04/20/01, which was denied on 06/25/01.


Lukehart filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court on09/27/01.  An amended motion was filed on 06/20/02 and a second amendedmotion was filed on 09/23/03.  On 04/06/09, this 3.850 Motion was deniedin the Circuit Court.


On 06/08/09, Lukehart filed a 3.850 Appeal to the FloridaSupreme Court. This appeal is pending.


Lukehart filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on09/23/09. This petition is currently pending.





Report Date:  12/14/01          NMP

Approved:      12/20/01          WS

Updated:         04/12/10         EMJ