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Florida judge denies new trial for death row inmate in 1985 slaying

James Dailey was convicted of stabbing and drowning a 14-year-old girl in 1985. File Photo courtesy of the Florida Department of Corrections
James Dailey was convicted of stabbing and drowning a 14-year-old girl in 1985. File Photo courtesy of the Florida Department of Corrections

May 29 (UPI) -- A Florida judge on Friday denied a new trial for a death row inmate convicted of killing a 14-year-old girl in 1985.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa issued the order in response to a March hearing in which James Dailey's lawyers sought to introduce new evidence exonerating their client.

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The Tampa Bay Times reported that the defense team obtained a signed statement from Dailey's co-defendant, Jack Pearcy, who said he alone killed Shelly Boggio in 1985. During the hearing, though, Pearcy refused to testify.

Siracusa said that because there's no new evidence, he won't grant a new trial.

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"Unfortunately, the trial court ruled today that it could not consider the overwhelming evidence of Mr. Dailey's innocence, including Jack Pearcy's repeated confessions that he committed the murder alone, because of its view concerning a number of technical legal requirements," Dailey's lawyer, Josh Dubin, told the Times.

"We respectfully disagree with the court's ruling and will continue to fight for justice for James Dailey. He did not murder Shelly Boggio."

Dailey, 73, was sentenced to the death penalty for Boggio's death, while Pearcy received life in prison. In one statement, Pearcy told investigators that Dailey stabbed Boggio and held her underwater until she drowned.

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Her body was found floating in waters off Indian Rocks Beach in Pinellas County.

Dailey was convicted in 1987 based mostly on testimony from three jailhouse informants. There was no physical evidence linking him to the slaying.

The Florida Supreme Court in November rejected Dailey's appeal for a stay of execution.

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Dailey was scheduled for execution on Nov. 7, 2019, but was granted a temporary stay in October by U.S. District Judge William Jung to allow his new attorneys more time to prepare their case.

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