Thomas Fletcher Florida Prison Murder

Thomas Fletcher was sentenced to death by the State of Florida for a prison murder

According to court documents Thomas Fletcher was serving a life sentence for murder at Blackwater River Correctional Institute when he would murder his cellmate Kenneth Jeff Davis. Apparently Fletcher committed the murder to be sentenced to death which he believed was an easier life then a typical Florida prison

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Thomas Fletcher is incarcerated at Union Correctional Institution

Thomas Fletcher Case

A man who killed his prison cellmate at the Blackwater River Correctional Facility in 2018 has been sentenced to death by a Santa Rosa County judge.

State Attorney Bill Eddins announced in a press release Wednesday that Circuit Judge Scott Duncan ordered Thomas Fletcher, 53, be sentenced to the death penalty for the Sept. 22, 2018, murder of his cellmate.

According to court documents, Fletcher killed 33-year-old Kenneth Jeff Davis by choking him from behind inside their cell.

Fletcher confessed to the crime and admitted that he murdered Davis in order to be sentenced to death.

According to Duncan’s sentencing order, in court proceedings Fletcher waived his right to a jury trial, never challenged the death penalty and refused to offer mitigation factors that could have reduced his sentence. The unusual moves were “a position that he has consistently maintained throughout these proceedings,” the judge noted.

At the time of the murder, Fletcher was serving a life sentence for 1994 Broward County convictions for murder, robbery and cocaine trafficking.

Eddins told the News Journal on Wednesday that there were several aggravating factors that led to his office seeking the death penalty and the judge ultimately imposing it.

“He had already intentionally robbed and killed one person and was sentenced to life in prison, and there’s no other penalty that can be imposed other than death if you kill another person while you’re already serving life,” Eddins said. “We felt that it was appropriate under the circumstances to seek death.”

As in all death penalty sentences, the Florida Supreme Court automatically will review the case to determine if any errors were made by the judge. It then will go through a first round of appeals in which the courts will review the publicly appointed lawyers who represented Fletcher, and then another round by the federal court to determine whether any constitutional violations were made

Eddins said because Fletcher essentially volunteered to be put to death, he doubts the courts will overturn the sentencing.

“The procedures were carefully followed, and I believe the penalty will be upheld in this case and I believe it is appropriate. However, it will be several years before the penalty is imposed,” Eddins said. “I think it ought to be pointed out that the result of this is that he should be unable to kill anybody else since he will be placed on death row, where he is in a single-person cell and can only be let out of the cell once a day.

Men on death row in Florida are housed at Florida State Prison and the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford.

Ninety-nine people have been put to death in Florida since 1979, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. As of Nov. 25, 2020, there are 338 people — three women and 335 men — on death row in Florida.

Thirteen of those death row inmates committed crimes in Escambia or Santa Rosa counties.

Eric Branch, 47, of Escambia County was executed by lethal injection at Raiford on Feb. 22, 2018. Branch abducted, sexually assaulted and killed University of West Florida student Susan Morris as she was leaving a night class in January 1993.

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