Santiago-Gonzalez v. StateAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of first-degree murder and sentence of death, holding that there was no reversible error in the proceedings below.
Defendant pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. After a penalty phase, Defendant was adjudicated guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding Defendant competent to proceed; (2) the trial court did not err in failing to order a new competency evaluation before the penalty phase began; (3) Defendant's death sentence was a proportionate penalty; (4) the trial court's finding that the murder was cold, calculated, and premeditated without pretense of moral or legal justification was supported by competent, substantial evidence; (5) there was sufficient evidence to justify the trial court's finding that the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, and cruel; (6) the trial court's questioning and Defendant's responses were sufficient to satisfy the requirement of a knowing, intelligent and voluntary plea; and (7) Defendant's remaining arguments on appeal were without merit.