Norman Grim was sentenced to death by the State of Florida for the murder of his neighbor. According to court documents Norman Grim would murder his neighbor, Cynthia Campbell, who was beaten with a hammer and stabbed multiple times. Norman Grim would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
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On July 27, 1998, at approximately 5:08 a.m., Deputy Sheriff Timothy Lynch responded to a call from Cynthia Campbell, who complained of a disturbance behind her house. Upon Lynch’s arrival, Campbell was standing on her front porch with her next-door neighbor Norman Grim, Jr., who was wearing a pair of cut-off jean shorts. All three walked around the porch to the back of Campbell’s house where Lynch noticed a broken window and a chrome lug nut in the surrounding bushes. Before returning to his house, Grim invited Campbell over for a cup of coffee after Lynch finished his investigation.
Connie Kelley, Campbell’s bookkeeper, arrived at Campbell’s house at 7:20 a.m., entered the house, called Campbell’s name, but did not receive an answer. Kelley became concerned and called the police. Cynthia Magee, Campbell’s paralegal, went to Campbell’s house later in the morning, saw her car parked in front of the house, and went inside to check. Deputy Sheriffs Calvin Rutherford and Steven McCauley arrived ten to fifteen minutes after Magee.
Rutherford obtained permission from Grim to look inside his home and noted that Grim had no shirt on and that there was a light pink color on one of his shoulders.1 Neither deputy saw any signs that there had been a struggle in the house.
Corporal Blevin Davis arrived at 11 a.m. and talked briefly with Grim. Davis observed that Grim was wearing a pair of cut-off blue jean shorts with several small reddish brown stains on them; there was another reddish-brown stain on his shoulder. Grim explained that the stains were primer paint from where he had been working on his car. Grim asked for and obtained permission to get his dogs that were now loose in the neighborhood.
Thomas Rodgers, the manager of the north end of the Pensacola Bay fishing bridge, ran a bait and tackle shop and convenience store at the foot of the fishing bridge, and he testified that sometime early in the afternoon of July 27, 1998, Grim came into his store. On the same day, Cynthia Wells, a former coworker of Grim, left work around 1 p.m. and was traveling on the Pensacola Bay bridge where she saw Grim walking beside his parked car with both doors and the trunk open. She testified that he was wearing a light-colored shirt and cut-off blue jean shorts.
In the afternoon of July 27, James Andrews and his son were fishing from the Pensacola Bay bridge. Around 3:30 p.m., Andrews hooked a human body that was wrapped in a sheet, a shower curtain, and masking tape. Law enforcement was called to retrieve the body, which the parties stipulated was Cynthia Campbell. After receiving word that Campbell’s body had been found, Detective Donnie Wiggen went to the convenience store where he talked to Rodgers and retrieved a surveillance videotape showing that Grim had entered the store just after 2 p.m.
Law enforcement officers secured Grim’s house. Davis drove to the Pensacola Bay fishing bridge and was present when Campbell’s body was brought to shore. Davis testified that her body was wrapped in striped sheets, which the police determined belonged to Grim, and black garbage bags. When the bags and sheets were removed at the autopsy, Davis observed that a piece of green carpet was “wrapped up with everything else.” Davis recalled having seen a similar piece of green carpet hanging over the rail of Grim’s back porch. Thereafter, the police obtained a search warrant for Grim’s home and an arrest warrant.
Crime scene analyst Janice Johnson from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement attended Campbell’s autopsy conducted by Dr. Michael Berkland, a forensic pathologist. Johnson testified that under the black garbage bags, the body was wrapped in carpet and sheets. They had to remove “layers of material,” including the garbage bags, a floral sheet, a blue striped flat sheet and fitted sheet, a piece of green carpet, masking tape, and rope.
Dr. Berkland testified that Campbell’s face was covered with deep abrasions and contusions around both eyes, her forehead, both sides of her chin, and her lips, all of which Dr. Berkland described as blunt force trauma. There was additional blunt force trauma to both shoulders and to the head. These injuries were all consistent with having been inflicted by a hammer. Dr. Berkland testified that Campbell suffered eleven stab wounds to the chest, seven of which penetrated her heart, and were consistent with having been caused by a single-edged weapon like a knife. Dr. Berkland opined that the blows to the head preceded the stabbings to the chest and that Campbell’s death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head and multiple stab wounds to the chest.
After attending the autopsy, Janice Johnson went to the victim’s home where she found no signs of any struggle. She then went to Grim’s home where she found two damp mops in the kitchen that had suspected blood stains. Although the area appeared to have been cleaned, Johnson discovered small areas of blood on the floor of the kitchen and on the cabinets near the floor. Johnson collected a coffee mug from the kitchen counter and two bloody fingerprints on a trash bag box. Inside the kitchen trash can was a striped pillow case that appeared to have blood on it and that had the same pattern as one of the sheets found wrapped around Campbell’s body. In the dining room, Johnson collected additional samples of suspected blood from the window frame and from the floor. In the living room, Johnson seized a pair of athletic shoes and a rope which appeared to be consistent with the rope found on the victim’s body. Johnson also collected a pair of blue-jean shorts with bloodstains on them.
On the back porch, Johnson found a piece of green carpet draped over the rail which was consistent with the green carpet wrapped around the victim’s body. Johnson also found a cooler in which she found a steak knife, a piece of terry cloth with reddish-brown stains on it, a pair of Hanes underwear, a tampon with reddish-brown stains on it, a pair of prescription eyeglasses, a wristwatch with a broken band, masking tape, a blue and white striped pillowcase, a hammer with suspected blood, some cloth tissue, and a Bud Lite beer carton.
Grim was arrested in Oklahoma on July 31, 1998. Detective Davis flew to Oklahoma to pick him up, to retrieve the clothes he had been wearing, and to arrange for the return of Grim’s car.
The prescription glasses found in the cooler matched Campbell’s prescription records, and the roll of masking tape in the cooler was fracture-matched to the tape found on Campbell’s body. The rope and the green carpet found on Campbell’s body were compared to the rope and green carpet found at Grim’s home. Although the examiner was unable to fracture-match these pieces, he determined that they were identical in appearance, construction, and fiber type and could have originated from the same source. Fingerprints on the coffee cup found on Grim’s kitchen counter were identified as Cynthia Campbell’s, and the bloody fingerprints on the trash bag box were identified as Grim’s.
DNA analysis of stains on the cut-off jean shorts Grim was wearing when arrested revealed twelve genetic markers consistent with the DNA of Cynthia Campbell, and the steak knife found in Grim’s cooler yielded six genetic markers consistent with the victim. The hammer found in the same cooler also yielded genetic markers consistent with the victim, as did swabbings from the box of trash bags. Likewise, stains on a pair of blue-jean shorts and a pair of shoes found in Grim’s living room bore genetic markers consistent with those of the victim.
After the presentation of evidence during the guilt phase, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on the charges of first-degree murder and sexual battery upon a person twelve years of age or older with the use of a deadly weapon. In light of the fact that Grim continued to insist on waiving his right to present mitigating evidence during the penalty phase, and, in fact, ordered his attorneys not to present any mitigation, the trial court conducted a hearing pursuant to Koon v. Dugger, 619 So.2d 246 (Fla.1993).2 During the hearing, the trial judge determined that Grim freely, voluntarily, and knowingly entered into his decision to waive mitigation and announced that he would conduct the penalty phase before the jury where Grim still could, if he wished, present mitigating evidence. Afterward, the judge stated that he would conduct a Spencer hearing 3 and order a presentence investigation report and, if necessary, he would also appoint an independent or special counsel to present mitigating evidence to the court outside the presence of the jury.
At the penalty phase, the State introduced certified copies and testimony relative to Grim’s prior Florida convictions: (1) unarmed robbery; (2) kidnapping and robbery; (3) armed burglary and aggravated battery; and (4) armed burglary and armed theft. The State’s last witness was the victim’s mother, Dorothea Campbell, who read a short victim impact statement. Grim did not present any mitigating evidence, and the jury recommended the death penalty by a vote of twelve to zero.