Justices reject appeal from Death Row inmate convicted in 1985 murder of teen

Execution scheduled for Nov. 7

Florida Department of Corrections photo of James Dailey

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With his execution scheduled for Nov. 7, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal from a Death Row inmate convicted in the 1985 murder of a 14-year-old girl in Pinellas County.

Justices unanimously ruled against James Dailey, who raised a series of arguments, including that there had been “newly discovered evidence” in the case.

Gov. Ron DeSantis last week signed a death warrant for Dailey, who was convicted in the May 1985 murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio, who had been hitchhiking with her twin sister and another girl near St. Petersburg, according to court documents.

Dailey and another man, Jack Pearcy, were accused of taking Boggio to an area near Indian Rocks Beach, where her body was later found with multiple stab wounds. Pearcy was sentenced to life in prison for the murder, while Dailey received the death penalty.

The arguments at the Supreme Court involved issues such as evidence that Dailey’s attorneys contended discredited a jail inmate, Paul Skalnik, who testified against Dailey. But the Supreme Court questioned why Dailey hadn’t raised the issues before.

“Dailey neglects to explain why this information could not have been discovered earlier,” the ruling said.

The Innocence Project of Florida, however, released a statement Thursday criticizing the looming execution.

“There is nothing more shocking than the thought of executing an innocent man,” Seth Miller, executive director of the Innocence Project of Florida, said in the statement. “Yet, that’s what will happen if Florida proceeds with the execution of James M. Dailey, a Vietnam veteran who has spent more than 30 years on Death Row for a crime he did not commit. There is no physical or eyewitness evidence tying Mr. Dailey to this tragic crime. Prosecutors used discredited snitch testimony to wrongfully convict him.”