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
PonticelliAnthony 112967RegistryCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
11/5/2007USDC-M07-444Motion to Hold in Abeyance
11/5/2007USDC-M07-444Habeas Petition filed
7/21/2008USDC-M07-444Motion to hold in abeyance denied
8/18/2008USDC-M07-444State's response to Habeas filed
11/8/2008USDC-M07-444Reply to Response filed
3/29/2011USDC-M07-444Petition Denied
6/11/2009FSC09-9923.850 Appeal filed
12/21/2009FSC09-992Initial Brief
6/4/2010FSC09-992Reply Brief
11/10/2010FSC09-992Appeal Denied
5/18/2007Circuit Court87-27193.851 motion filed
9/11/2007Circuit Court87-2719State's Response filed
10/15/2007Circuit Court87-2719Reply filed
2/21/2008Circuit Court87-27193.851 Motion Amended
3/14/2008Circuit Court87-2719Response to Amended Motion filed
10/1/2008Circuit Court87-2719Evidentiary Hearing
3/16/2009Circuit Court87-27193.851 Motion denied
3/31/2009Circuit Court87-2719Motion for Rehearing filed
4/8/2009Circuit Court87-2719State's Response filed
5/6/2009Circuit Court87-2719Rehearing denied
10/22/2010CC87-2719Successive 3.850 Motion
12/17/2010CC87-2719State's Reponse to 3.850 Motion
2/23/2011CC87-2719Huff Hearing

Current Attorney

Last NameFirst NameCityAddressZipPhoneEMail
McDermottLinda M.Wilton Manors, FL1141 N.E. 30th St.33334-850/322-2172Email


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 this informationregularly. This information, however, is subject to change and may not reflectthe latest status of an inmate’s case and should not be relied upon forstatistical or legal purposes.


PONTICELLI, Anthony John (W/M)

DC# 112967

DOB:  04/19/67


Fifth Judicial Circuit, Marion County Case# 87-2719-CF-AW

Sentencing Judge:  The Honorable Raymond T. McNeal

Trial Attorney:  James Reich – Assistant PublicDefender

Attorney, Direct Appeal:  Michael S. Becker – AssistantPublic Defender

Attorneys, Collateral Appeals: Linda McDermott – Registry


Date of Offense:  11/27/87

Date of Sentence:  09/06/88


Circumstances of the Offense:


On 11/27/87, Anthony Ponticelli arrived at Keith Dotson’shouse around 6:30 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. Ponticelli stayed for approximately 30 to45 minutes. Around 7:30 p.m., Ponticelli was seen at Ralph and NickGrandinetti’s house. Timothy Keese, the Grandinetti’s roommate, heard the threediscussing money that Ponticelli owed the two brothers for cocaine. Ponticellitold the two that he would sell the cocaine that they currently had and thensettle up with them in regard to the money that he owed them. The two brothersagreed to take Ponticelli to sell the cocaine. The three left the house. Keeseleft the house and when he returned neither of the Grandetti brothers wasthere.


Ed Brown, Dotson’s cousin who was at Dotson’s house, statedthat Ponticelli returned to Dotson’s house with two people in the car.Ponticelli told Brown that he intended to kill the two brothers for money andcocaine. Ponticelli showed the gun to Brown and told him that he would need aride back to Ponticelli’s house later. Brown begrudgingly agreed to givePonticelli a ride later and gave him Dotson’s phone number.


Dennis Freeman, Ponticelli’s cellmate after arrest,testified that Ponticelli stated the following events. Ponticelli shot the twoGrandetti brothers in the head. He shot the driver first with two shots andthen the passenger once. The passenger was still alive.


Joseph Leonard, Ponticelli’s best friend, testified thatPonticelli arrived at his house around 9:30 p.m., after the shooting.Ponticelli returned a gun that Leonard had allowed him to borrow. At this time,Ponticelli stated that he “did Nick” and asked Leonard what he should do withthe bodies. Ponticelli told Leonard that the Grandetti’s had been harassing himabout money that he owed them and would not let him leave their house untilthey got their money. Ponticelli then left Leonard’s house. Upon leavingLeonard’s house, Ponticelli got a flat tire and abandoned the car with thebodies still in it.


Around 11:30 p.m. Ponticelli took a cab back to Dotson’shouse. He told Dotson that he had shot the Grandetti brothers in the car forcocaine and $2000. Brown testified that Ponticelli asked him if he thought aperson could live through being shot in the head. Ponticelli told Brown that hehad heard one of the men moaning. Brown stated that he told Ponticelli not toworry. Ponticelli washed his clothes while at Dotson’s house and Brown thendrove him home.


The Grandetti brothers were found on 11/28/87. NickGrandetti was found on the floorboard of the car. His head was badly injured,and he was gasping for air and kicking his foot. His head was covered withblood, and there was blood spattered all over the car. Nick survived until12/12/87. He died of cardiac arrest, which was secondary to the gunshot wounds.An autopsy showed that Nick had suffered two gunshot wounds to the back of thehead, and he had a number of bruises on the back and side of his head, whichwas consistent with blunt force trauma. The skin on his right ear was red andpeeling, which was consistent with hot pressure being placed upon the ear foran extended period of time. Ralph Grandetti was dead in the back seat of thecar when the two were found. The medical examiner stated that Ralph died withintwo minutes of being shot. He was shot once in the head at close range.


On 11/29/87, Ponticelli burned some clothing in RonaldHalsey’s backyard. Halsey testified that he asked Ponticelli why he was burninghis clothes and Ponticelli told him that he had shot two men who he owed moneyfor cocaine. Ponticelli stated that he shot both of the men in the head andthrew one in the back seat. The other man was still moving so Ponticellirelated that he hit him in the head with the butt of the gun a number of times.Ponticelli then stated that he had a flat tire, so he took several grams ofcocaine and $90 in cash.


Leonard gave the police the murder weapon and provided themwith a statement. This evidence and statement resulted in Ponticelli’s arrest.


Trial Summary:


11/27/87         Indicted as follows:

                                   Count I:           First-DegreeMurder

                                   Count II:         First-Degree Murder

                                   Count III:        Armed Robbery Using aWeapon

12/21/87         Defendant entered a written plea of not guilty

01/11/88         Defendant filed a motion to change plea. The hearing was scheduled for 02/29/88

02/18/88         Order for Substitution of Counsel was granted based on a conflict the PublicDefender’s Office had due to their previous representation of one of thewitnesses

07/25/88         Motion to rely on insanity defense was entered

08/12/88         Defendant was found guilty of both counts of First-Degree Murder

08/18/88         Jury recommended death by a vote of 9-3

09/06/88         Sentenced as follows:

                                   Count I:          First-Degree Murder – Death

                                   Count II:         First-Degree Murder –Death

                                   Count III:        Armed Robbery Using aWeapon – Dismissed


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 73,064

593 So. 2d 483


09/08/88         Appeal filed

10/10/91         FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence

03/09/92         Rehearing denied

04/08/92         Mandate issued


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC# 91-8584

506 U.S. 802


06/08/92         Petition filed

10/05/92         Petition was granted reversing the FSC opinion and remanded the case to the FSCfor further consideration due to Espinosa V. Florida[1]


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal, On Remand from USSC

FSC# 73,064

505 U.S. 1079


10/05/92         Case remanded to FSC by USSC

03/04/93         FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence

05/27/93         Rehearing denied

06/28/93         Mandate issued


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC# 93-5811

510 U.S. 935


08/25/93         Petition filed

10/18/93         Petition denied

State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# 87-2719-CF-AW


05/17/95         Motion filed

11/01/02         Motion denied


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC# 03-17

941 So.2d 1073


01/06/03         Appeal filed

03/18/05         Order to consolidate with Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

08/31/06         FSC affirmed the trial court’s denial of Ponticelli’s 3.850 Motion

10/23/06         Motion for Rehearing denied


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# 87-2719-CF-AW


06/20/03         Second Motion filed

08/26/03         Motion denied


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC# 03-1655

879 So.2d 623


09/12/03         Appeal filed

06/09/04         Appeal denied

11/08/06         Mandate issued


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 03-1858

941 So.2d 1073


10/20/03         Petition filed

03/18/05         Order to consolidate with 3.850 Appeal

08/31/06         Petition denied

10/23/06         Motion for Rehearing denied

11/08/06         Mandate issued


State Circuit Court – 3.851 Motion

CC# 87-2719-CF-AW


05/18/07         Motion filed

02/21/08         Amended motion filed

10/01/08         Evidentiary hearing held

03/16/09         Motion denied

03/31/09         Motion for Rehearing filed

05/06/09         Rehearing denied


United States Middle District Court – Petition forWrit of Habeas Corpus

USDC# 5:07-cv-00444


11/05/07         Petition filed

03/29/11            Petition denied



Florida Supreme Court – 3.851 Appeal (Review ofNon-final Order)

FSC# 08-151

984 So.2d 1250


02/04/08         Petition filed

05/28/08         Petition denied


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC# 09-992


06/11/09         Appeal filed

11/10/10         Appeal denied


Factors Contributing to the Delay in theImposition of the Sentence:


One of the main delays in this case was surrounding theDirect Appeal and the granting of Certiorari by the USSC.  The seconddelay is that the 3.850 Motion has been pending in the Circuit Court for sevenyears.


Another delay was Ponticelli’s 3.850 Appeal and Petition forWrit of Habeas Corpus, which were filed to the Florida Supreme Court.  Thecases were consolidated on 03/18/05.  The Court took over three years torender a decision for both cases. 


Case Information:


Ponticelli filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida SupremeCourt on 09/08/88. The main issues raised in regard to the guilt phase were thecourt incorrectly found Ponticelli competent to stand trial and that threestatements made to the police investigator should have been suppressed. TheCourt stated that there was sufficient evidence to support the trial court’sruling on Ponticelli’s competency to stand trial. In addition, the court agreedwith Ponticelli that the second statement was inadmissible, but that the errorwas harmless. All of the issues raised in regard to the penalty phase wererejected. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed Ponticelli’s conviction andsentence on 10/10/91. The rehearing was denied on 03/09/92, and the mandate wasissued on 04/08/92.


Ponticelli filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to theUnited States Supreme Court on 06/08/92. The USSC granted certiorari andremanded the case to the Florida Supreme Court for further consideration inlight of Espinosa v. Florida on 10/05/92 due to the rejection of theclaim regarding the constitutionality of the aggravating factors of heinous,atrocious, or cruel and cold, calculated, and premeditated. The Florida SupremeCourt issued a revised opinion on 03/04/93. The opinion stated that the challengeto the instruction given for the aggravating factors was procedurally barredbecause there was no request for specific instructions or objections raised atthe time of the trial. Therefore, the court affirmed Ponticelli’s convictionand sentence. The rehearing was denied on 05/27/93, and the mandate was issuedon 06/28/93.


Ponticelli filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to theUnited States Supreme Court on 08/25/93. The petition was denied on 10/18/93.


Ponticelli filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court on05/17/95, which was denied on 11/01/02.


Ponticelli filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Courton 01/06/03.  On 03/18/05, the Court ordered to consolidate this case withPonticelli’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus.  On appeal, Ponticelliraises the following five issues:  (1) the State violated Brady andGiglio in a number of ways throughout trial, (2) the State suppressedseveral pieces of evidence regarding the cocaine party that began the nightbefore the homicides, (3) ineffective assistance of counsel during the penaltyphase and guilt phase, (4) denial of competent mental health assistance, and(5) inappropriate summary denial of claims raised in his fifth amended 3.850Motion.  The Court determined that none of these allegations have meritand Ponticelli failed to establish support for these claims.  On 08/31/06,the Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of Ponticelli’s 3.850 Motion. The Motion for Rehearing was denied on 10/23/06.


Ponticelli filed a second 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court,which was denied on 08/26/03.


Ponticelli filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Courton 09/12/03, which was denied on 06/09/04.  On 11/08/06, the mandate wasissued.


Ponticelli filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in theFlorida Supreme Court on 10/20/03.  On 03/18/05, the Court ordered toconsolidate this case with Ponticelli’s 3.850 Appeal.  In his Petition forWrit of Habeas Corpus, Ponticelli made the following claims:  (1)Florida’s capital sentencing scheme is unconstitutional under Ring, (2)Ponticelli’s death sentence was unconstitutional, and (3) the appellate counselrendered ineffective assistance.  The Court found that each of the aboveclaims is without merit.  On 08/31/06, the Court denied Ponticelli’sPetition for Writ of Habeas Corpus.  The Motion for Rehearing was deniedon 10/23/06.  On 11/08/06, the mandate was issued.


Ponticelli filed a 3.851 Motion to Vacate in the StateCircuit Court on 05/18/07.  He then filed an Amended 3.851 motion on02/21/08.  An Evidentiary Hearing was held 10/01/08.  This motion wasdenied on 03/16/09.  On 03/31/09, Ponticelli filed a Motion for Rehearingin the Circuit Court which was denied on 05/06/09.


On 11/05/07, Ponticelli filed a Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus to the United States Middle District Court.  The petition wasdenied on 03/29/11.


Ponticelli filed a 3.851 Petition for Review of Non-finalOrder to the Florida Supreme Court on 02/04/08.  This petition was deniedon 05/28/08.


On 06/11/09, Ponticelli filed a 3.850 Appeal to the FloridaSupreme Court. This appeal was denied on 11/10/10.


Institutional Adjustment:




















Report Date:  04/19/02          NMP

Approved:      05/10/02          WS

Updated:         04/01/11         CAR

[1] [1]Espinosa v. Florida states that the imposition of a death sentence by aFlorida trial court violated the Eighth Amendment where the jury rendering theadvisory sentence was instructed on invalid aggravating circumstances.