56ºF

2nd suspect in Blind Rabbit murder gets high-profile attorney

Devonte Hanford, 22, named as second suspect in Daniel Rowe's murder

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The second man charged in the 2015 murder of a Riverside restaurant employee has a new lawyer -- one of the city’s most well-known attorneys. 

Daniel Rowe was shot and killed while taking out the garbage on July 22, 2015, in an alley behind the Blind Rabbit on King Street during what police described as a robbery attempt.

About a year after the deadly shooting, Erron Coleman 25, was arrested and charged with Rowe's murder, along with armed robbery, burglary and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Investigators said two men were seen running away from the scene.

After Coleman pleaded guilty to shooting Rowe, he named a second suspect, 22-year-old Devonte Hanford, in his plea agreement. Hanford was arrested two days later. 

Hanford was silent as he appeared in court Wednesday, with his newly-appointed lawyer, Ann Finnell. Finnell is also representing Ronnie Hyde in the 1994 cold case murder of Fred Laster. Rowe’s family sat just a few feet away, as they always do. 

Steven and Raelyn Rowe have promised to be in court every step of the way but they say it hasn't gotten easier.

Wednesday’s hearing was little more than a status conference. Rowe's parents were understandably upset with the slow pace of the system, a complaint they voiced during Coleman’s case. They're planning on heading back to court for Hanford's next scheduled hearing on Nov. 8.
Coleman was initially charged with second-degree murder before the indictment came down.

He appeared before a judge Friday afternoon and will continue to be held without bond, pending his arraignment on Sept. 8.

A sentencing date has not been set for Coleman, but the state attorney's office said it will be asking for life without parole.