McCoy v State of Florida: Death sentence upheld — (FindLaw)

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Case No. SC12-676

(FL S.Ct., Dec. 19, 2013)

Thomas Ford McCoy, Jr., who was forty-two years old at the time of the crime, pled guilty to the April 2009 first-degree murder of his former colleague, thirty-seven-year-old Curtis Brown. In this proceeding, McCoy appeals the death sentence imposed by the trial court for this murder. We have jurisdiction. Seeart. V, § 3(b)(1), Fla. Const. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm McCoy’s conviction for first-degree murder and sentence of death.


McCoy pled guilty to first-degree murder with a firearm. A penalty-phase proceeding was subsequently conducted before a jury, during which the following evidence was presented regarding the murder of Curtis Brown.
Curtis Brown was a service technician employed by the Coca-Cola Company, operating out of the company’s Valparaiso, Florida, location. This job required Brown to respond to service calls regarding vending, fountain, and ice machines and to repair the machines where they were located. Brown was a very thorough and precise technician who liked to help others, and he had advanced to the service technician position after beginning his employment with the Coca-Cola Company delivering products to vending machines.
On Friday, April 10, 2009, Brown responded to a service call regarding a Coca-Cola machine in a break room at the Northwest Florida State College campus in DeFuniak Springs, Florida, which is in Walton County, in the northwest part of the state. Although another technician, Ray Jackson, typically serviced machines in DeFuniak Springs, Brown would often respond to service calls wherever he was needed and offered to help Jackson by responding to the service call for the Northwest Florida State College machine. Upon responding to the call, Brown was shot six times and killed in the break room where the Coca-Cola machine was located. When emergency personnel arrived, they found Brown lying dead on the floor of the break room. The medical examiner testified that all six wounds could have been fatal and that the time of death from the infliction of the wounds could have been “within seconds or minutes” but was not immediate.
Law enforcement determined that the service call regarding the Northwest Florida State College Coca-Cola machine was placed by Thomas McCoy, a former Coca-Cola employee and colleague of Brown and Jackson until McCoy resigned from the company in June 2006. McCoy had worked for Coca-Cola for about twelve years, beginning in 1994, as part of the five-man service technician team that also included Brown and Jackson. The group liked to play practical jokes on one another, such as turning the windshield wipers on or the radio up in a vehicle that was left unlocked, but there were never any reported or visible signs of animosity between McCoy and the other service technicians.

Below is information extracted from the appeal to the State Supreme Court.
Supreme Court of Florida____________
No. SC12-676


In December 2006, a month after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, McCoy was diagnosed with depression by another general practitioner, Dr. David Campbell, and was prescribed Cymbalta, an antidepressant. In February 2007, McCoy told Dr. Campbell that he wanted to change his medication to Zoloft, a different antidepressant. Dr. Campbell complied and also prescribed Xanax, which is an anti-anxiety medication. McCoy reported that he did not understand the instructions for taking the Zoloft and believed it was like a tranquilizer that could be taken only on days when he felt stressed and not on days when he felt better. In actuality, the medication should have been taken regularly in order to build up a certain amount in the body. Aside from his self-reporting, however, it is unknown whether McCoy took the medication properly or not.