Floyd allowed to represent himself during sentencing

Published 2:45 am Wednesday, October 9, 2013

As family and friends of Tina Jones tearfully testified on Tuesday afternoon about the effects of her murder on her loved ones, Cedric Floyd — the man jurors convicted in her death a day earlier — sat silent.

Granted permission by Circuit Judge Bert Rice to represent himself for the sentencing phase, Floyd chose not to question any of the prosecution witnesses, nor did he call any of his own.

Several members of the jury were moved to tears as well. They will return to court this morning to decide whether to recommend that Floyd be sentenced to death.

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In her opening statement in the penalty phase Tuesday, Assistant Attorney General Ternisha Miles asked the jury to advise Rice to grant the death sentence.

“The facts support it. Justice demands it. He deserves it,” she said, pointing to the defendant.

Jones’ daughter, Kytoria Lawson, testified that her mother “would give her last for her kids and anyone she loved.”

“She was just everything to me,” said Lawson, who was an 18-year-old senior in high school when her mother was killed.

Sara Marshall testified that Jones “took care of everybody” — even Floyd’s son.

“He wasn’t allowed near him,” Marshall said. “She fed her kids; she fed his kids.”

Then, turning to look at Floyd in the courtroom, she said, “She clothed your baby. … It was her, loving you to the death. It’s just not fair the way she died.”

The trial — which included a 10-day voire dire to seat 12 jurors and four alternates — has been the longest criminal trial in Escambia County history, defense attorney Chuck Johns said.

Prosecutors said Floyd climbed into girlfriend Tina Jones’ window on the night of Jan. 2, 2011, and shot her three times with a gun he bought earlier that day after selling his car.

He was charged with capital murder because he shot Jones while committing burglary for breaking and entering her house. He crawled into her house through a window, after he apparently spent a day sending threatening text messages to her and to her daughter.

During the sentencing phase Tuesday, Miles told jurors that prosecutors believe Floyd first shot Jones in the back as she fled — an injury a pathologist testified was survivable. He then shot her through the bridge of her nose and then point-blank in the back of her head, Miles said.

“It was an execution,” she said.

Johns argued in his closing statement Monday that Atmore police officers did not handle the evidence properly and that Floyd was “convicted in the minds of the Atmore Police Department” that night. A defense witness testified that he would have handled evidence at the scene differently and with more care.

But police testified that Floyd turned himself in and said he shot Jones, prosecutors said.