James Dailey was sentenced to death by the State of Florida for the murder of fourteen year old Shelly Boggio.. According to court documents James Dailey and two accomplices Jack Pearcy, and Dwayne “Oza” Shaw would pick up Shelly Boggio. The fourteen year old was found naked and dead the next day. James Dailey would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death.
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Shelley Boggio’s nude body was found floating in the water near Indian Rocks Beach in Pinellas County, Florida. She had been stabbed repeatedly, strangled, and drowned. On the day of the murder, Shelley, her twin sister Stacey, and Stephanie Forsythe had been hitchhiking along a road near St. Petersburg, Florida. They were picked up by Dailey, Jack Pearcy, and Dwayne “Oza” Shaw. The three men drove the girls to a local bar. Stacey and Stephanie returned home shortly thereafter, but Shelley remained with the group and returned to Jack Pearcy’s house. Dailey was living in Pearcy’s home, where he had his own bedroom. Pearcy and his girlfriend, Gayle Bailey, shared a second bedroom. Shaw, a friend of Pearcy’s from Kansas, was temporarily staying at Pearcy’s house while he resolved marital issues. He slept on a couch in the living room.
Shaw testified that on the night of the murder he drove with Pearcy and Boggio to a public telephone booth, where he was dropped off. Pearcy and Boggio then drove off alone. After speaking on the phone for several minutes, Shaw returned to the house on foot and fell asleep on the couch. Shaw testified that when he woke up later that night, he saw Pearcy and Dailey, but not Boggio, entering the house together. Shaw noticed that Dailey’s pants were wet.
The State presented testimony from the lead detective in the case, John Halladay, and three informants who were inmates at the same facility where Dailey was held while awaiting trial. One of the inmates, Paul Skalnik, testified that Dailey had struck a deal with Pearcy, who had also been charged with Boggio’s murder.1 Skalnik testified that he relayed messages between Dailey and Pearcy. According to Skalnik, Dailey promised that if Pearcy did not testify at Dailey’s trial, Dailey would attempt to exonerate Pearcy once he was acquitted.
Based on the testimony of Shaw, Skalnik, and several other witnesses, Dailey was found guilty of first-degree murder and was sentenced to death. On appeal, this Court affirmed the conviction but struck two aggravating circumstances and remanded the case for resentencing after concluding the trial court had failed to weigh mitigating circumstances. Dailey v. State, 594 So.2d 254 (Fla.1991).2 At resentencing, Dailey was again sentenced to death.
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A trial judge on Friday denied James Dailey’s latest effort to prove he is innocent of the 1985 murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio, a crime for which he awaits execution.
Dailey’s defense hoped that his co-defendant, Jack Pearcy, might exonerate him. They obtained a signed statement from Pearcy in December which stated, “I committed the crime alone.”
But in a court hearing in March, Pearcy refused to testify and claimed he is the one who’s innocent. Pearcy has given inconsistent statements over the years about who was responsible for the murder.
Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa concluded in an order issued Friday that there is no new admissible evidence to warrant a new trial.
It is unclear what will happen next. Dailey, 73, still has an appeal pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Unfortunately, the trial court ruled today that it could not consider the overwhelming evidence of Mr. Dailey’s innocence, including Jack Pearcy’s repeated confessions that he committed the murder alone, because of its view concerning a number of technical legal requirements,” Dailey’s lead defense attorney, Josh Dubin, said in a statement Friday. “We respectfully disagree with the Court’s ruling and will continue to fight for justice for James Dailey. He did not murder Shelly Boggio.”
In September, Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered Dailey’s execution, setting a Nov. 7 date. But a federal judge later granted a stay of execution to give his attorneys more time to research and argue their case.
No new execution date has been set.
Dailey and Pearcy were found guilty in separate trials in the murder of Boggio. Her body was found one morning in May 1985 in the Intracoastal Waterway near the Walsingham Road bridge in Indian Rocks Beach. She had been beaten, choked, stabbed 31 times and ultimately drowned.
The two men were among the last people seen with the girl. Prosecutors suggested the motive for the crime was sexual.