Craigslist killer appeal hearing today

Defense: Judge should take Sparre's mental health into account before death sentence

Author: Erica Rakow, General assignment reporter, erakow@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 03 2013 05:00:29 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 03 2013 11:27:05 AM EST
David Sparre
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Tuesday, the Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments in the appeal of the death sentence given to a Jacksonville murderer.

David Sparre was convicted in the 2010 death of Tiara Pool, whom he contacted through Craigslist.

Now, his appeal lawyers say the trial judge failed to do something she should have done.

They said the judge should have had the jury hear about Sparre's mental health issues, and that's what the Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments on today. It's an attempt to overturn Sparre's death sentence.

A Jacksonville jury came back with a quick 12-0 death recommendation for Sparre followng his trial for killing 21-year-old Tiara Pool, and on March 30, 2012, Judge Libby Senterfitt sentenced him to death.

"You have not only forfeited your right to live among us, but under the laws of the state of Florida you have forfeited your right to live at all," said Judge Senterfitt.

Pool was a Navy wife whose husband was on deployment at the time of her death. After answering pool's personal ad on Craigslist, Sparre stabbed her 89 times in what he admitted was a thrill killing.

During his sentencing, Judge Senterfitt read a chilling letter Sparre wrote to an ex-girlfriend bragging about murdering Pool.

"I planned on doing what I did. You want the truth? I did it for the rush. I planned for a week and a half how I would do it. I'm not even going to lie, I enjoyed it and I hope to do it again," Senterfitt read.

During the penalty phase, Sparre told his lawyer he did not want any mitigating evidence presented and he didn't want family members called up to beg for his life. After he was sentenced, his defense attorneys said they had doubts about that letter.

"The difficulty of this letter is that we've got a lot of questions about this letter, why it was written, how it was written, things to that nature and we believe there may be more to the purpose of writing that letter than what was brought out," said defense attorney, Michael Bateh.

In court filings, Sparre's public defender argues Judge Senterfitt was wrong to sentence him to death without allowing evidence to be presented on his mental health and substance abuse issues.

This could end up changing the way death penalty cases are defended in Florida.