A speedy retrial may help man's defense
TISCH, Times Staff Writer
James Floyd sat on death row for more than 20 years for the
1984 stabbing death of Annie Bar Anderson.
Published June 7, 2005
LARGO - James Floyd sat on death row for more than 20 years
before the Florida Supreme Court granted him a new trial.
Now, prosecutors may have just 90 days to finish lab tests and
find long-lost witnesses to try Floyd a second time.
Murder cases typically take a year or more to reach trial after a
defendant waives the constitutional right to a speedy trial.
That gives defense attorneys time to thoroughly review the
evidence, seek the opinions of outside experts and potentially punch
holes in the state's case.
But Floyd, 45, is in a unique position. Because his case is so
old, demanding his right to a speedy trial could work in his
"That's something I'm going to talk to him about," defense
attorney Martin McClain said Monday.
The urgency of the 90 days doesn't appear lost on Pinellas-Pasco
Circuit Judge Tim Peters, who urged prosecutors in a hearing Monday
to be ready for trial by August. He scheduled another hearing for
Friday morning to talk again about the case.
Prosecutor Mark McGarry said it will be a challenge to pull the
case together, but he said: "I plan to be ready."
St. Petersburg police arrested Floyd on murder charges in the
Jan. 16, 1984, slaying of Annie Bar Anderson, 86, known in her St.
Petersburg neighborhood as the "Butterfly Lady" because she raised
Anderson had been stabbed 11 times in the stomach and once in the
Detectives developed Floyd, then 23, as a suspect when he tried
to cash one of Anderson's stolen checks. Floyd gave conflicting
statements at first and provided a false alibi. A sock spattered
with blood - the same type as Anderson's - was found in Floyd's
Floyd, who worked as a custodian for a local church, told police
he had found Anderson's checks in a trash bin in an alley. He denied
A jury took about an hour to convict Floyd, then took another
hour to recommend a death sentence. A judge sent him to death row.
In March, the state Supreme Court ordered a new trial because
prosecutors withheld evidence from defense attorneys. This included
a statement from a neighbor who saw two other men go into Anderson's
house about the time of the murder.
The court's ruling also pointed out some inconsistencies in the
crime scene evidence.
Prosecutors have since submitted evidence for DNA
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