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
HeathRonald 065145RegistryCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
4/25/2007FSC07-7713.850 Appeal
2/25/2009FSC07-771Rehearing denied
3/13/2009FSC07-771Mandate issued
6/23/2009USDC09-00148Habeas petition

Current Attorney

Last NameFirst NameCityAddressZipPhoneEMail
HarperRobert A.Tallahassee, FL325 W. Park Ave.32301-1413850/224-5900Email


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.


HEATH, Ronald (W/M)

DC #    065145

DOB:   07/06/61


Eighth Judicial Circuit, Alachua County Case # 89-3026

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Robert P. Cates

Trial Attorney: Stephen Scheck – Special Public Defender

Attorney, Direct Appeal: David A. Davis – Assistant PublicDefender

Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Robert Harper – Registry


Date of Offense:          05/24/89

Date of Sentence:        12/17/90


Circumstances of the Offense:


Ronald Heath and his live-in girlfriend, Penny Powell, droveto Heath’s grandmother’s house in Jacksonville.  Heath and Powell had anargument after which Powell returned to their residence in Douglas,Georgia.  Heath drove to Gainesville to visit some friends and wasaccompanied by his brother Kenneth. 


On the evening of May 24, 1989, Heath and Kenneth went tovisit two of Heath’s friends who worked as waitresses at the PorpoiseLounge.  Over the course of the evening, the brothers initiated aconversation with a traveling salesman, Sheridan.  After purchasing thebrothers a drink, he inquired as to whether they used marijuana.  AtHeath’s suggestion, the brothers agreed to rob Sheridan at an alternatelocation.  Heath drove the trio in Kenneth’s vehicle to an isolated areain Alachua County.  Heath parked the vehicle on a dirt road and all threeproceeded to exit the vehicle and smoke marijuana.  At this point, Heathmade a pistol gesturing motion and asked Kenneth, “Did you get it?” Kenneth reached under the seat of the car and came back with a small-caliberhandgun.  Kenneth pointed the gun at Sheridan while informing him that hewas being robbed.  Sheridan indicated that he was not going to give thebrothers anything and, at Heath’s prompting, Kenneth shot Sheridan once in thechest.  As Sheridan began removing his possessions, Heath kicked him andused a hunting knife to stab him in the neck and unsuccessfully attempted to slithis throat.  Heath then told Kenneth to use the gun to kill Sheridan, andKenneth proceeded to shoot him twice in the head.  They moved the bodydeeper into the woods and after they returned to the Porpoise, theyrelocated Sheridan’s rental car to another location and burned it afterremoving some items. 


The following day, the brothers purchased numerous items ata Gainesville mall using Sheridan’s credit cards.  Various store clerks ina photo lineup identified Heath, even though Kenneth signed all of the creditcard slips.  The brothers stopped using the credit cards after being askedbiographical questions they could not answer and returned toJacksonville.  They threw the handgun into the St. John’s River, but itwas never recovered. Heath returned to the trailer in Georgia, which he sharedwith Powell. 


Heath was arrested at his trailer several weeks after themurder for using the stolen credit cards.  The officers obtainedpermission to search the trailer from Powell.  The officers found severalof the clothing items purchased using Sheridan’s credit cards as well asSheridan’s watch.





There was an indictment on both Ronald Heath and KennethHeath for the First-Degree Murder and Armed Robbery of Sheridan.  Also, therewas another case where the brothers were indicted with offenses connected withthe forgeries of the credit cards.  The two cases were consolidated on11/06/90. Kenneth pled guilty to the charges in a plea agreement and agreed totestify about the robbery and murder of Sheridan.  For the murderconviction, the sentence that Kenneth received was life imprisonment withouteligibility for parole for 25 years.


Trial Summary:


07/12/89         Indicted with the following:

 Count I:          First-Degree Murder                             

Count II:          Robbery with a DeadlyWeapon

07/27/89         Charged by Information with the following:

Count III:        Conspiracy to Commit Uttering aForgery 

CountIV:         Forgery

Count V:         Uttering a Forged Instrument

CountVI:         Forgery

CountVII:        Uttering a Forged Instrument

Count VIII:      Forgery 

Count IX:        Uttering a Forged Instrument 

09/13/89         Charged by an amended Information to include the following charges:

Count X:         Forgery 

Count XI:        Uttering a Forged Instrument 

Count XII:       Forgery

Count XIII:      Uttering a Forged Instrument 

Count XIV:     Forgery 

Count XV:       Uttering a Forged Instrument

Count XVI:     Forgery

Count XVII:    Uttering a Forged Instrument 

Count XVIII:   Forgery 

Count XIX:     Uttering a Forged Instrument 

                                   Count XX:        Forgery

                                   Count XXI:      Uttering a Forged Instrument 

11/15/90         Defendant was found guilty by the trial jury of First-Degree Murder,

Robbery with aDeadly Weapon, Conspiracy to Commit Uttering a

Forgery,and seven counts of Forgery and Uttering a Forgery.

11/27/90         The jury recommended Death by a vote of ten to two

12/17/90         Defendant was sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First-DegreeMurder –Death                             Count II:        Robbery with aDeadly Weapon – Life sentence

Count III:        Conspiracy to Commit Uttering aForgery - 6 mo.

Count VIII:      Forgery – 10 years

Count IX:        Uttering a Forged Instrument – 10years

Count X:         Forgery – 10 years

Count XI:        Uttering a Forged Instrument – 10years

Count XII:       Forgery – 10 years

Count XIII:      Uttering a Forged Instrument – 10 years

Count XIV:     Forgery – 10 years

Count XV:       Uttering a Forged Instrument – 10 years

Count XVI:     Forgery – 10 years

Count XVII:    Uttering a Forged Instrument – 10 years

Count XVIII:   Forgery – 10 years

Count XIX:     Uttering a Forged Instrument – 10 years

                                   Count XX:        Forgery – 10 years

                                   Count XXI:      Uttering a Forged Instrument – 10years                       



Appeal Summary:


Florida StateSupreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC #77,234

648 So. 2d 660


01/16/91         Appeal filed.

10/20/94         FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence.

01/24/95         Rehearing denied.

02/24/95         Mandate issued.


United StatesSupreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC #99-9009

515 U.S. 1162


04/24/95         Petition filed.

06/26/95         USSC denied petition.


State Circuit Court– 3.850 Motion

CC #89-3026


03/24/97         Motion filed.

08/02/04         Motion amended.

04/18/05         Motion amended.

03/29/06         Evidentiary Hearing held.

04/04/07         CC denied motion.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Motion Appeal

FSC# 07-771

3 So. 3d 1017


04/25/07         Appeal filed.

01/29/09         Appeal denied.


United StatesDistrict Court, Northern District –Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

USDC# 09-00148



06/23/09          Petition filed.



Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition ofSentence:


The Direct Appeal took four years for a decision to berendered.  The 3.850 motion was pending from 03/24/97 – 04/04/07.



Case Information:


A Direct Appeal was filed on 01/16/91.  Some of theissues raised included: (1) the trial court erred by admitting victim characterevidence; (2) the trial court erred by admitting testimony regarding his desireto escape from jail; (3) The trial court erred by excluding Powell’s testimonyregarding a statement made by Heath.  The Florida Supreme Court found allof these claims either without merit or harmless and affirmed the convictionand sentence of Death on 10/20/94.


A Petition for Writ of Certiorari was filed on 04/24/95 anddenied on 06/26/95.


A 3.850 motion was filed with the circuit court on 03/24/97and amended on 08/02/04 and 04/18/05.  On 03/29/06, an Evidentiary Hearingwas held, and the motion was denied on 04/04/07. 


A 3.850 Motion Appeal was filed with the Florida SupremeCourt on 04/25/07.  This appeal was denied on 01/29/09.


On 06/23/09, Heath filed a Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus in the United States District Court. This petition is pending.



Institutional Adjustment:





DATE    DAYS                   VIOLATION                                      LOCATION      

05/15/93     0                       UNAUTH PHY.CONTACT              FLORIDA STATE PRISON

05/01/94     0                       UNAUTH PHY. CONTACT              UNION C. I.        

11/03/94     0                       REF. SUB. ABUSETEST                   UNION C. I.        

07/12/95     0                       UNAUTH USE OF DRUGS               UNION C. I.        

07/31/95     0                       POSS OF CONTRABAND                UNION C. I.        

04/19/98     0                       DISORDERLY CONDUCT           UNION C. I.        

08/28/99     0                       DISOBEYING ORDER                        UNION C. I.        

01/06/03    60                      DISRESP.TOOFFICIALS                  UNION C. I.        

02/20/05     0                        UNAUTH PHY. CONTACT              UNION C. I.

03/18/05    15                      POSS OFCONTRABAND                UNION C. I.

11/20/05    90                      UNAUTH PHY.CONTACT              UNION C.I.



11/13/01         cc

11/27/01         approved          ws

07/08/09         updated            klh