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Death sentence upheld for killer of Fla. CO

Enoch D. Hall was sentenced to die for beating, strangling and stabbing corrections officer Donna Fitzgeral in 2008


By Frank Fernandez
The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The Florida Supreme Court in a 5-to-2 decision has again upheld the death sentence for a rapist who killed a Tomoka prison correctional officer, according to an opinion issued on Thursday.

Enoch D. Hall, 49, was sentenced to die for beating, strangling and stabbing corrections officer Donna Fitzgerald at the Tomoka Correctional Institution on June 25, 2008, near Daytona Beach. Hall was serving two consecutive life sentences when he stabbed Fitzgerald 22 times with a makeshift knife. Fitzgerald was supervising Hall, a welder on a work crew. Her body was found over a cart and partly disrobed, which prosecutors said had shown Hall intended to rape her.

Enoch D. Hall, 49, was serving two consecutive life sentences when he stabbed Officer Donna Fitzgerald 22 times with a makeshift knife. (Photo/Florida DOC)
Enoch D. Hall, 49, was serving two consecutive life sentences when he stabbed Officer Donna Fitzgerald 22 times with a makeshift knife. (Photo/Florida DOC)

A jury unanimously recommended that Hall be put to death and now-retired Circuit Judge J. David Walsh followed through on that recommendation in 2010. Walsh found five aggravators supported the death penalty. But the Supreme Court in an earlier ruling struck down one of those, finding there was not enough evidence to support the aggravator that the killing was cold, calculated and premeditated.

In rejecting Hall's appeal, the Supreme Court ruled that the other four aggravators were sufficient: Hall had a prior felony conviction, had a prior capital felony conviction or felony involving the use or threat of violence, the crime was committed to disrupt a government function and it was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel.

Justice Barbara J. Pariente wrote a dissent which was joined by Justice Peggy J. Quince. Pariente wrote that the justices could not know whether the jury would have recommended death without the cold calculated and premeditated aggravator, which is one of the more serious aggravators.

The Supreme Court also affirmed with a 6-to-1 vote in a "revised opinion" a lower court's decision denying a claim by Kenneth Darcell Quince that he cannot be executed due to intellectual disability. Quince, 59, was sentenced to death in 1980 after pleading guilty and waiving his right to a penalty phase jury. Quince was convicted of the Dec. 28, 1979, strangulation murder of an 82-year-old Daytona Beach woman.

©2018 The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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