Application of HAC Justified Even If Victim Alive for Few Seconds
In Francis v. State, 808 So. 2d 110, 134-35 (Fla. 2002), the Court noted that it has upheld the application of heinous atrocious and cruel (HAC) even when the "medical examiner determined that the victim was conscious for merely seconds." Id. at 135.
In Rolling v. State, 695 So. 2d 278, 296 (Fla. 1997), the Court upheld the application of the HAC aggravating circumstance even when the medical examiner testified that the "victim would have remained alive for a period of thirty to sixty seconds." Rolling, 695 So. 2d at 296.
Additionally, in Peavy the Court determined that the application of HAC was not improper when the medical examiner testified the victim would have lost consciousness within seconds. See 442 So. 2d at 202-03. Based on the evidence presented and detailed in the trial court's sentencing order, we conclude that there was competent, substantial evidence supporting the trial court's finding that HAC applied to the murder of Martin.
Moreover, the trial court here applied the correct rule of law when it read the standard jury instruction on the HAC aggravator. See Cave v. State, 727 So. 2d 227, 229 (Fla. 1998) (finding that trial court applied the correct rule of law in a felony murder case where it gave the standard jury instruction on HAC).