For several weeks in 1996, a gang of young men ran off a crime spree in Lee County. That spree culminated in the shooting of a local teacher, and multiple convictions for those responsible.
Kevin Foster was convicted and sentenced to death for his part in the murder of Mark Schwebes, a teacher at Riverdale High School. Foster was the shooter, killing Schwebes with a shotgun at close range after ambushing him; and he was the leader of a loose-knit gang known as the Lords of Chaos. After trial, Foster was sentenced to death, and the conviction upheld on direct appeal. Foster v. State, 778 So.2d 906 (Fla. 2000).
After the appeals were upheld, Mr. Foster filed a post-conviction motion, asking that the results be thrown out and that he be granted a new trial, based on allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel. That motion was denied by Judge Edward Volz after a 3-day hearing in 2011. By rule, the appeal went straight to the Supreme court, which upheld the ruling, and the death sentence, in a written opinion today. The opinion, which you can read in full here, is interesting, as it summarizes much of what was heard at the evidentiary hearings, including claims that Mr. Foster’s attorney was impaired due to Parkinson’s disease, and that his mother was sleeping with one of the investigators on the case. There are still some final appellate procedures that Foster will likely pursue, so it will be some time before his death sentence can be carried out.