According to court documents Quentin Truehill would escape from a jail in Louisiana and was on a crime spree that would end with the kidnapping, robbery and murder of Vincent Binder
Quentin Truehill would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
Quentin Truehill Photos
Quentin Truehill Now
|Name:||TRUEHILL, QUENTIN M|
|Initial Receipt Date:||05/19/2014|
|Current Facility:||UNION C.I.|
|Current Release Date:||DEATH SENTENCE|
Quentin Truehill Case
He’s one of three men involved in a multi-state crime spree that started with an escape from a Louisiana jail and included a murder in St. Augustine- and he will not get off death row.
The Florida Supreme Court has affirmed the convictions and death sentence for Quentin Truehill, who was charged with kidnapping and killing 29-year-old Vincent Binder. The trial took place in St. Johns County, where Binder’s remains were found.
Truehill and two cell mates broke out in March 2010 after holding an officer hostage and attacking another with a shank. He was serving time for manslaughter in the shooting of a man at the time. The trio stole a truck that contained tools and knives, a truck that would ultimately be found in Miami with a large amount of evidence inside.
Arguments presented at trial show the three men stole a purse in Louisiana to fund part of the journey, then attacking a woman in Pensacola, severely injuring her and taking her money. In Tallahassee, they tried to rob a man, who got away, then stole a woman’s purse, and- within hours of that- abducting Binder.
Binder’s account was used for purchases across the state, including in Miami, where a teller became suspicious because the suspects were trying to withdraw $1,300 from Binder’s account. The suspects had to ditch the truck, when they accidentally were locked out and couldn’t find the keys. Police later found it with a smashed window, and a range of evidence inside.
Binder’s decomposed body was found off I-95 in St. Augustine. Investigators believe he was killed in the field where he was found. Court records show Binder suffered multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma to the head, as well as many defensive wounds.
Truehill was convicted and sentenced to death by a unanimous jury, but he had six issues on appeal which were considered by the state’s high court. The claims included that some jurors were improperly striken, that evidence of his other crimes should not have been introduced, that some of the actions by prosecutors should have warranted a new trial, and that the state’s death penalty sentencing scheme is unconstitutional.
The Florida Supreme Court ruling rejected the appeals, with the strongest concern expressed during their analysis of a portion of the state’s closing argument. The ruling says the prosecutor put a slide on the screen with a picture of the victim and a caption saying “The dead cannot cry out for justice. It is the duty of the living to do so for them”. The prosecutor only got through reading the word for before the defense objected and the slide was quickly removed. The judge agreed that the move was an improper appeal to the jury’s sympathy, but didn’t issue any warning to the jury- believing that most didn’t see the full slide or capture the statement because of how quickly the defense objected. The Florida Supreme Court says they “strenuously condemn such tactics”, but agree that the incident was quick enough that it should not have greatly prejudiced jurors.
The ongoing dispute over Florida’s death penalty sentencing law was also raised on appeal. More than a year ago, the law was struck down by the Supreme Court, because a judge was given some discretion. Florida lawmakers reworked the guidelines to make it a decision on the jury, but the Florida Supreme Court struck down the law, because it didn’t require the jury to be unanimous. The new law is being crafted in the upcoming state legislative session, but the Florida Supreme Court ruling issued on Truehill’s case Thursday says his death sentence stands regardless.
“We emphasize the unanimous jury recommendation of death. The unanimous jury recommendation of death provides this Court with the evidence necessary to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that a rational jury would have unanimously found that sufficient aggravating factors existed to impose the death penalty and that those aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating circumstances presented,” the ruling says.
One of Quentin Truehill’s co-conspirators, Kentrell Johnson, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. His case is pending appeal. The third suspect, Peter Hughes, pleaded guilty to first degree murder and was sentenced to life without parole.