Local Death Row inmate seeks new sentence

Crime

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — A murder case that is now more than 25 years old is reopened and could give the defendant a chance at a new sentence.

Roderick Orme was found guilty of choking a woman to death inside a Panama City hotel room in 1992.

Orme was found guilty and sentenced to the death penalty by the jury.

In 2017, a case decided by the Florida Supreme Court, Hurst v. the State of Florida, deemed it unconstitutional for a person to be sentenced to death without a unanimous jury decision.

This decision reopened Orme’s case and gave him a possibility for a new sentencing phase.

Orme had a status conference on Tuesday and was scheduled to have a new sentencing phase in October.

However, getting a new trial now may not happen as attorneys wait for a decision on a pending case before the state Supreme Court.

Duane Owen was sentenced to death in 1990 for raping and murdering a 14-year-old girl, and beating another woman to death with a hammer. After the Hurst vs. Florida decision, Owen attempted to appeal his sentence but was denied.

At issue, is if cases prior to 2017 can be overturned based on the Hurst case.

This case is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court and if the decision to not apply the 2017 Hurst vs. the State of Florida to Owen’s case, Orme will also not be receiving a new sentence.

This means Orme will remain on death row. The decision could affect dozens of cases across the state.

The Supreme Court will reach the decision in the coming months.

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