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Supreme Court Rejects Stay In Pending Execution

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Florida Department of Corrections
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

One week before Death Row inmate Patrick Hannon is scheduled to be put to death, the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to grant a stay of execution.

Justices, in a 5-1 decision, rejected a series of arguments made by attorneys for Hannon, who was convicted in the 1991 murders of two men in Hillsborough County. Gov. Rick Scott last month signed a death warrant for Hannon, 53, to be executed Nov. 8 at Florida State Prison.

Hannon was sentenced to death in the murders of Brandon Snider and Robert Carter. Hannon and two other men went to the apartment where Snider and Carter lived on Jan. 10, 1991. After one of the other men attacked and stabbed Snider, Hannon was accused of cutting Snider's throat, according to a court document. Hannon was then accused of fatally shooting Carter, who had tried to hide under a bed.

In seeking a stay of the execution, Hannon's attorneys argued, in part, that Hannon's death sentences were disproportionate compared to the sentences of his co-defendants. For instance, the Supreme Court referred to co-defendant James Charles Acker, who was sentenced to life in prison, according to information on the state Department of Corrections website.

“Not only was Hannon the `triggerman' by shooting Carter, he was also the `buck-knife man' by slashing Snider's throat to the point of near decapitation,” said the 18-page majority opinion by Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and justices R. Fred Lewis,

Ricky Polston and Alan Lawson. Justice Charles Canady concurred with the result but did not sign on to the majority opinion. Justice Barbara Pariente dissented, while Justice Peggy Quince was recused.