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Deceased: Alphonso Cave
Alphonso Cave died yesterday after serving close to 41 years on death row. The cause of death is unclear.
According to Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) records, Florida death row prisoner Alphonso Cave died yesterday while in DOC custody after serving close to 41 years on death row.
Cave was almost 65 years old at the time of his death. He was sentenced to death for crimes that occurred in April 1982.
The cause of Cave’s death is unclear. State policy requires that an autopsy be performed for all deaths; however, those records would only be accessible through a public records request.
Background on Cave’s Sentence of Death
The jury at Cave’s original trial recommended death by a vote of 7-5.1 However, he was later granted a new penalty phase. The second penalty phase occurred in 1993, where the jury recommended sentence of death by a vote of 10-2.2 Cave was again sentenced to death. On appeal, the Florida Supreme Court “vacated the sentence [of death] because the trial judge had erroneously conducted a full evidentiary hearing on the factual allegations contained in Cave’s motion to disqualify the judge.” After a third penalty phase in 1996, the jury recommended death by a vote of 11-1. Cave was again sentenced to death, and the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the sentence on direct appeal. His sentence became final in 1999.
In a postconviction motion, Cave argued that Florida’s capital sentencing scheme was unconstitutional under Ring v. Arizona. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of that claim in a decision issued on January 27, 2005. Of course, that claim was ultimately validated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 in Hurst v. Florida.3
Most recently, in 2020, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of Cave’s claims for relief under Hall v. Florida (seeking relief for intellectual disability) and Hurst. Both were denied on the basis of retroactivity. Justice Labarga filed a concurring in result opinion.
Cave v. State, 899 So. 2d 1042, 1045 (Fla. 2005).
Id. at 1046.