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Crime Two men are in prison for the same Florida murder. One may be innocent. He also may be executed.

18:25  19 january  2020
18:25  19 january  2020 Source:   tampabay.com

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INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — On a June morning in 1985, a 30-year-old jail inmate named Jack Pearcy sat in an administrative room of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. He agreed to be hooked up to a machine designed to detect lies.

Jack Pearcy, left, and James Dailey, right, as they appeared when they each entered Florida's prison system in 1987. Both men were convicted of taking part in the murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio in Pinellas County. Pearcy got a life sentence. Dailey got the death penalty. Dailey's lawyers have argued that Pearcy is solely responsible for the crime.© Florida Department of Corrections Jack Pearcy, left, and James Dailey, right, as they appeared when they each entered Florida's prison system in 1987. Both men were convicted of taking part in the murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio in Pinellas County. Pearcy got a life sentence. Dailey got the death penalty. Dailey's lawyers have argued that Pearcy is solely responsible for the crime.

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This is a story about an innocent man who languished in prison for 26 years while two attorneys who knew he was innocent stayed silent. Police arrested him after a tip and got three eyewitnesses to identify him . Logan, his mother and brother all testified he was at home asleep when the murder

He was in prison - I wrote him and he said don't ever take a blind plea, because you never know what's going to happen. He wishes others would do the same . "Ignorance is the order of the damn prison ," he says. "The youngsters lie around. There's no studying or reading.

Did you really see Jimmy Dailey stab Shelly Boggio?

Yes.

Do you really believe Jimmy Dailey killed Shelly Boggio?

Yes.

Initial results suggested Pearcy was telling the truth. But there was more.

Did you stab Shelly Boggio?

No.

Did you hold her down so Jimmy Dailey could stab her?

No.

Did you help Jimmy Dailey throw her into the water?

No.

Pearcy was told the test registered “significant emotional responses," an indication he could be lying. He admitted then that he hadn’t been completely truthful.

He started to cry.

He spoke again about what had happened in the dark a month earlier on an early morning in May. Ever since, he said, he had nightmares. In them, he saw a man straddling a young girl. He saw the man plunging a knife into her body. He saw the man’s face, his features distorted but recognizable.

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The face was his own.

More than three decades after 14-year-old Shelly Boggio’s brutally stabbed body was pulled from the waters near a bridge in Pinellas County, Jack Pearcy and James Dailey remain in prison. Pearcy is serving life, while Dailey was long ago condemned to death.

In September, after years of legal wrangling, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered Dailey to die. With his death warrant came a frenzy of new appeals, with arguments long dismissed by state courts, that Dailey might be innocent. His attorneys have said that Pearcy is solely responsible, that he implicated Dailey to shift the blame.

Complicating Dailey’s case is the controversial use of jailhouse snitches, the lack of physical evidence tying him to the murder, and his co-defendant’s ever-evolving story. More than once, Pearcy has said Dailey was not involved in the crime.

Though Dailey, now 73, won a stay of execution while his attorneys argued to save him, that expired late last month. The governor could reset his execution any day.

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I ask him if he likes being in prison , and he points out an additional financial upside - his pension And one factor that may have prompted him to reoffend, he speculates, was the promise of That may be a hypothetical example, but I met one elderly jailbird whose experience was almost identical.

Thomas was arrested and charged in May 1990. The police allegedly did not conduct any further After he was convicted in the Sykes case, Hunt was tried in 1987 for the murder of 57-year-old Hunt languished in prison until 2004 when he was fully exonerated after spending 19 and a half years

The tale of what happened that night 34 years ago is told in hundreds of pages of tattered police reports, court transcripts and legal papers filed as part of Dailey’s most recent appeals.

It is a hideous story, full of violence, contradiction, ambiguity and doubt.

A bridge tender spotted the body after sunrise on May 6, 1985.

Police in Indian Rocks Beach were directed to a rocky strip of land just north of the Walsingham Road bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway. The spot was known as “The Loop,” a local lover’s lane.

The dead girl was nude. Cuts, gashes and deep puncture wounds — more than 30 of them — marked her hands, back, head and face. She wore a turquoise ring on her left hand. Her underwear, jeans and blouse were strewn nearby.

Police found drag marks over dirt and rocks to the shore. Further west, two large blood spots marked the ground. Nearby was a puddle of vomit.

Family members identified Shelly Boggio after seeing news reports. She was 14.

She grew up poor, with a father who had little money to buy his children clothes. They moved to Florida months earlier from Battle Creek, Mich.

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The same man also fatally stabbed the woman’s 4-year-old son, leaving him face down on his bed. “It’s very tragic to think someone has been in prison for four decades and he may actually be innocent of the crime,” said Susan Friedman, an attorney with the Innocence Project.

Murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification or valid excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human with malice aforethought.

A truant officer for the local school system found the family using an open oven to keep warm on a cold day. Boggio was a troubled teenager, already smoking and frequently absent from school, often staying away from home overnight. She and her twin sister, Stacey, attended the Sixteenth Street Middle School, now John Hopkins Middle School.

It was Stacey who told detectives about Jack Pearcy.

He was with Dailey and another man in a white Toyota the night before when they picked up the sisters and their friend after spotting the girls hitchhiking in Kenneth City. Shelly recognized him. He had bought marijuana from their father, Frank Boggio, who chastised Pearcy for his interest in Shelly.

Pearcy was a construction worker, brawny, with wild eyes and a cocky attitude. He had a checkered history that included allegations of domestic violence and involvement in a thwarted murder-for-hire plot. The latter earned him the notice of cops in his hometown of Olathe, Kan., who knew him as a “hit man.”

He and Dailey were friends and roommates whose relationship revolved around drinking and drugs. They had met at Sue’s Bar back in Kansas in the early 1980s.

Dailey was no saint. He once bragged to his ex-wife that he dressed up all in black and broke into a sporting goods store just to see if he could do it and not get caught. He also boasted that he could beat a polygraph test because he lied so much. He was known to have been in fights and had been treated for alcoholism.

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But those who knew Dailey said there was another side. In Kansas, he rescued a couple from drowning. He wrote original poetry in cards to his teenage daughter. He served several tours at the height of the Vietnam War as an electronics technician in the Air Force. He played folk guitar and liked mystery TV shows.

He came to Florida in early 1985 with plans to make a go of a new life. He lived with Pearcy and Pearcy’s then-girlfriend, Gayle Bailey, in a little house in Seminole. Another friend of Pearcy’s, Oza Dwain Shaw, joined them, seeking a respite from a troubled marriage.

That night, the men took the teenage girls to Sunset Beach. They tried to get into a bar, but a bouncer stopped Shelly Boggio and told them to leave.

They drove back to the house, ate hamburgers, baked beans and potato salad, drank beer and wine coolers and watched Alfred Hitchcock on TV. Pearcy rolled joints and passed them around.

The group headed to Jerry’s Rockin’ Disco in St. Petersburg. Dailey asked Boggio to dance. She declined. She danced with Pearcy instead.

Pearcy’s girlfriend, who was pregnant with his child, took umbrage at her boyfriend’s apparent interest in the teenager. By the time they all returned home about midnight, she planned to take the girl home herself. But as she stepped into a bathroom, Pearcy and Boggio left with Shaw in the Toyota. Dailey wasn’t with them.

They left Shaw at a pay phone where he stopped to call his wife.

Deborah North, a bartender who knew Boggio, would later say she saw the girl at Hank’s Seabreeze Bar in Treasure Island sometime before 1:45 a.m. A man was with her. They asked for help getting a car unstuck from the sand.

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Shaw would later testify that Pearcy returned to the house sometime early that morning. Boggio wasn’t with him when he entered. Pearcy went to Dailey’s room and roused him. The pair left.

They returned sometime later. Dailey’s pants were wet below his waist.

The next morning, Pearcy rose early and told the group they were heading to Miami.

Fifteen days after Boggio’s body was pulled from the water in Pinellas County, police in Olathe, Kan., stopped Pearcy on the road. Florida detectives flew up that night. He was read his rights. He said he wanted a lawyer.

He also said this: “I just want you to know that I got out of the car and tried to stop Jimmy D. from stabbing her, but when I saw it, I puked all over the place.”

A month later, Pearcy sat beside a public defender in a little room in the Pinellas County Criminal Court Complex and agreed to let a prosecutor ask questions. He admitted he was with Boggio at the murder scene.

“I was wanting to go home,” he said. “She still wanted to party. So, she said, ‘Get Jimmy D. and see if he wants to go.’”

They picked up Dailey, Pearcy said, and drank at another bar. Back on the road, he said, Dailey told him to pull off at a secluded spot along the Intracoastal Waterway, a place the men had gone fishing before.

He said Dailey and Shelly got out and he stayed in the driver’s seat, drinking a wine cooler and listening to the radio.

Pearcy said he heard a noise, looked over and saw Dailey straddling the girl’s back. He said he saw his right arm moving in an “in-and-out motion.”

He gave a vivid description of watching her being stabbed and seeing her try to grab the blade. He described the knife in detail: a survival-style blade with a nut on the back and a leather handle grip, a serrated edge about 6 inches long with a groove down the middle.

By his telling, it was Dailey who owned the knife and kept it stuffed between the seats of Pearcy’s girlfriend’s car, Dailey who did the stabbing, Dailey who held her feet and pulled her into the water.

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Pearcy said he tried to pull Dailey off the girl but fell into some bushes. He said on the way home, Dailey told him to pull over, got out and threw the knife and sheath into Walsingham Reservoir.

Pearcy said he scolded his friend: “You killed her and they electrocute people down here for that."

Detectives were uncertain if Pearcy was telling the truth. They gave him the polygraph exam the next day.

Confronted with accusations that he was being deceptive, Pearcy broke down. Gradually, he acknowledged being more than a bystander. He admitted he held the knife.

“I think I cut her," he told them, “but I don’t think I stabbed her ... I’m blocking it out. I don’t want to remember. I don’t remember stabbing her in the head. I don’t know how many times I might have cut her.”

Dailey was arrested months later in California. Unlike Pearcy, he said nothing to the cops.

But he would later give an explanation for his wet pants that morning: Pearcy woke him about 2:30 a.m. and wanted to talk. They grabbed some beers and drove out to the Belleair Causeway. They tossed around a Frisbee that at one point flew into the water. Dailey said he waded in to retrieve it.

Dailey would later say his attorneys found the Frisbee story so implausible they refused to let him talk about it at trial.

Prosecutors suggested the crime was sexually motivated. They sought the death penalty for both men.

Pearcy was found guilty in November 1986. There was emotional testimony on his behalf at his sentencing hearing. The jury declined to recommend a death sentence.

“Other than his own self-serving statements," prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo, "no evidence exists that Pearcy was not the main actor in this child’s brutal murder.”

Dailey’s trial came the following June. Pearcy refused to testify.

The most incriminating testimony came from three jailhouse informants. Two said they helped exchange notes between Dailey and Pearcy in which the pair seemed to be on friendly terms. They also claimed Dailey made incriminating statements.

Dailey was found guilty. A jury was unanimous in recommending a sentence of death.

Pearcy’s story would change. And change again.

In March of 1993, Pearcy, then 37, gave a sworn statement in a bid to get Dailey a new trial.

By then Pearcy had exhausted his own appeals. His attorneys were long gone. He seemed resigned that he would stay in prison for good.

This time, he said he made up his earlier story about what Dailey had done. “It was just a self-serving statement to exonerate myself,” he said.

“I was in custody and they were going to charge me and I was just trying to get around it, that’s all," he said. "Lay the blame somewhere else.”

Five years later, in a note he sent to the dead girl’s twin sister, Pearcy stuck to the story that Dailey stabbed her. “I’ve beat my head on the wall because I was there & was so high on drugs and drinking that by the time I realized what was going on it was too late,” he wrote.

Two fellow inmates later claimed Pearcy told them Dailey wasn’t involved.

In 2017, Pearcy signed an affidavit saying Dailey wasn’t there that night, that Pearcy alone was "responsible for Shelly Boggio’s death.” But when called to testify, Pearcy said certain statements in the document were untrue.

In December, responding to an email from a Tampa Bay Times reporter, Pearcy wrote that "Dailey killed Shelly by himself.”

But before Dailey’s stay of execution expired Dec. 30, there came a new declaration from Pearcy: “James Dailey had nothing to do with the murder of Shelly Boggio," it read. "I committed the crime alone.”

Only two people know for sure who’s responsible for Shelly Boggio’s death. One of them may soon be killed for it.

Unlike his co-defendant, Dailey’s story never changed.

“I am innocent,” he told the state’s parole commission in 2015. “Jack Pearcy killed that girl, but I have no way to prove that.”

———

©2020 the Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.)

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Naked Florida woman shooter gets 25 years in prison for murder .
DAYTONA BEACH -- A woman who was naked when she shot a man to death outside an apartment was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison, according to the State Attorney's Office. Latasha Reaves, 41, pleaded no contest to a charge of second-degree murder, which carried a penalty of up to life in prison, said John Scott, spokesman for the 7th Circuit State Attorney R.J. Larizza's office. Circuit Latasha Reaves, 41, pleaded no contest to a charge of second-degree murder, which carried a penalty of up to life in prison, said John Scott, spokesman for the 7th Circuit State Attorney R.J. Larizza's office.

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