Death Sentence In Cases Where 2 Aggravators Were Found In the Face of Extensive Mitigation

In Singleton v. State, 783 So. 2d 970 (Fla. 2001), the defendant was convicted of first-degree murder. The defendant testified that after he had sex with the victim, she attempted to steal his wallet. When the defendant recovered the wallet, the victim picked up a knife and swung it at him. During the struggle to take the knife from her, Singleton stabbed the victim seven times, causing her death. the trial court found the aggravators of prior conviction of a felony involving use of violence and heinous, atrocious or cruel (HAC). The trial court in Singleton found some mitigation, including three statutory mitigators and nine nonstatutory mitigators. In Singleton, the Court upheld the death sentence in spite of the substantial mitigation. The court also found the sentence of death proportional in several other cases where two aggravators were found in the face of extensive mitigation. See: Spencer v. State, 691 So. 2d 1062, 1065 (Fla. 1996) (affirming defendant's death sentence for killing his wife based on the presence of two aggravating factors, prior violent felony and HAC, despite the existence of two statutory mental mitigators--extreme mental or emotional disturbance and impaired capacity to appreciate the criminality of conduct--as well as a number of nonstatutory mitigating circumstances); Heath v. State, 648 So. 2d 660, 666 (Fla. 1994) (affirming defendant's death sentence based on the presence of two aggravators--prior violent felony and murder committed during the course of a robbery--despite the existence of the statutory mitigator, extreme mental or emotional disturbance); Lemon v. State, 456 So. 2d 885, 888 (Fla. 1984) (upholding imposition of the death penalty where defendant was convicted of stabbing a woman and the trial court found two aggravating factors--HAC and a prior violent felony conviction--and one mitigating factor, emotional disturbance).