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
HappWilliam 117027CCRC-MCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
6/1/2010USDC07-00074Certificate of Appealibility Denied
10/22/2007CC86-671Successive 3.850

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. 


HAPP, William (W/M)

DC#     117027

DOB:   01/19/62


Fifth Judicial Circuit, Citrus County Case # 86-671

Venue changed to Lake County on 06/29/88


Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Jerry T. Lockett

Attorney, Trial: Jeffery M. Pfister – Assistant PublicDefender

Attorney, Direct Appeal:  Christopher S. Quarles –Assistant Public Defender

Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Robert Strain &Carol Rodriguez – CCRC-M


Date of Offense:          05/24/86

Date of Sentence:        07/31/89


Circumstances of Offense:


On 05/24/86, a fisherman found the body of a partially cladwoman on the bank of the Cross-Florida Barge Canal.  The woman’s shoulderswere covered by a tee shirt that was pulled up to her underarms, and a pair ofstretch pants was tied tightly around her neck.  The medical examinertestified that the woman’s face and skull were badly bruised and hemorrhaged,had multiple scrapes on her back and right heel, had suffered ten to twentyhard blows to the head, and had been anally raped before death, the cause ofwhich was strangulation. 


The victim was last seen at a Cumberland Farms store at 2:30a.m. on 05/24/86, and a woman’s scream was heard at approximately the sametime.  The victim’s car was found six-tenths of a mile from the store,with its driver’s side window shattered.  A shoe print found outside thedriver’s side door matched one of Happ’s shoes and Happ’s fingerprints werefound on the exterior of the car. 


Happ revealed the details of the crime to a fellow jailinmate, Richard Miller.


Happ’s first trial ended in a mistrial when the prosecutorviolated a court order and revealed Happ’s prior criminal record. 


At the second trial, a friend of Happ’s testified thataround the time of the murder, he saw Happ walking toward the canal, and thenext morning he noticed that Happ had a swollen right hand.  Happ’s formergirlfriend also testified that Happ told her that he had broken a car windowwith his fist. 


Trial Summary:


12/02/86         Indicted as follows:

                                  Count I First-Degree Murder

                                   Count II           Burglarywith Battery

                                  Count III          Kidnapping

                                  CountIV          Sexual Battery

02/05/87         Entered a plea of not guilty

06/29/88         Venue changed from Citrus to Lake County (Lake County case # 88-


07/28/89         Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment

07/31/89         Jury recommended a death sentence by a vote of 9-3

07/31/89         Sentenced as follows:

                                  Count I First-Degree Murder – Death

                                   Counts II-IV    Life Imprisonment


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 74,634

596 So.2d 991


08/30/89         Appeal filed

01/23/92         FSC affirmed convictions and sentences

03/09/92         Rehearing denied

04/08/92         Mandate issued


U.S. Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC# 92-5152

506 U.S. 949


06/08/92         Petition filed

11/02/92         USSC granted petition, vacated sentence, and remanded case to FSC for



Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal (on remand fromUSSC)

FSC # 74,634

618 So.2d 205


05/20/93         FSC affirmed sentence

06/21/93         Mandate issued


U.S. Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC# 93-5789

510 U.S. 925


08/18/93         Petition filed

10/12/93         USSC denied petition


Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# 86-671


01/17/95         Motion filed

05/15/97         Circuit Court denied Motion


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Motion Appeal

FSC# 93,121

770 So.2d 158


06/01/98         Appeal filed

09/13/00         FSC dismissed appeal without prejudice to allow defendant to raise

ineffective assistance of counselclaims in an amended 3.850 Motion in Circuit Court.


Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# 86-671


01/17/95         Original 3.850 Motion filed

11/02/99         Motion amended

08/31/00         Motion amended

11/10/00         Motion amended

09/18/03         Circuit Court denied Motion


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# SC00-1198

784 So.2d 1091


10/27/00         Petition filed

05/03/01         FSC denied Petition


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Motion Appeal

FSC# 03-1890

922 So.2d 182


10/22/03         Appeal filed

12/08/05         FSC affirmed denial of motion

02/13/06         Rehearing denied


U.S. District Court, Middle District – Petition forWrit of Habeas Corpus

USDC# 07-74


02/28/07         Petition filed

04/06/10         Petition denied


Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC# 86-671



10/22/07         Motion filed


U.S. Court of Appeals – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus Appeal

USCA# 10-12159-P



05/05/10            Appeal filed


Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition ofSentence:


Happ’s 3.850 Motion was pending from 11/02/99 – 09/18/03,after being remanded from the FSC.


Case Information:


Happ filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on08/30/89, citing the following nine errors: denying motion to dismiss theindictment on double jeopardy grounds, denying motion to suppress evidence,refusing to answer a jury deliberation question, restricting evidence regardingwitness testimony, failing to find that the State did not express non-racialreasons for striking a juror, allowing the reading of Miller’s

(a fellow jail inmate) testimony at the second trial,commenting on the evidence and limiting defense counsel’s closing arguments,refusing to allow the defense to refer to the key state witness as a “snitch”and “squealer,” and denial of a fair trial due to the cumulative effect oferrors.  The FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence on 01/23/92.


Happ filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S.Supreme Court on 06/08/92 that was granted on 11/02/92.  The USSC vacatedthe sentence and remanded the case to the FSC. 


On 05/20/93, the Florida Supreme Court again affirmed thedeath sentence of Happ.


Happ filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S.Supreme Court on 08/18/93 that was denied on 10/12/93.


Happ filed a 3.850 Motion with the Circuit Court on 01/17/95that was denied on 05/15/97.


Happ filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal with the Florida Supreme Courton 06/01/98 that was dismissed without prejudice on 09/13/00 to allow Happ toraise ineffective assistance of counsel claims in an amended 3.850 Motion.


Happ filed an amended 3.850 Motion with the Circuit Court on11/02/99 that was again amended on 08/31/00 and 11/10/00.  The Motion wasdenied on 09/18/03.


Happ filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with theFlorida Supreme Court on 10/27/00, citing issues related to ineffectiveassistance of appellate counsel.  The FSC denied the Petition on 05/03/01.


Happ filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal with the Florida SupremeCourt on 10/22/03 that was denied on 12/08/05. 


On 02/28/07, Happ filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpuswith the U.S. District Court, Middle District.  This petition was denied on04/06/10.


Happ filed a 3.850 Motion in the state Circuit Court on10/22/07. This motion is pending. 


On 05/05/10, Happ filed an Appeal with the United StatesCourt of Appeals.  This appeal is pending.


Institutional Adjustment:





DATE                   DAYS                   VIOLATION                                      LOCATION      


04/06/91               15                          DISOBEYINGORDER                        FLORIDA STATE PRISON

04/26/94               0                            POSS OFCONTRABAND            UNION C. I.        

10/12/95                0                            FIGHTING                                           UNION C. I.        

02/06/02               30                          DISRESP.TOOFFICIALS                  UNION C. I.         




Report Date:    09/13/01          JFL

Approved:       11/16/01          WS

Updated:          05/20/10         CAR