The Florida Supreme Court has thrown out the conviction and death sentence of an Indiana man sentenced to death 25 years after a murder that had no suspects until DNA was examined near the crime scene.  The justices ruled that evidence against Carl Dausch was insufficient to convict him in the 1987 murder of Adrian Mobley.  Dausch has been on death row for almost 2 years.  The only evidence in the case was DNA on a cigarette butt found near the crime scene.  While Dausch no longer faces execution, he will be transferred to Indiana where he was serving a sentence for rape before being convicted in 2011 for the murder.  Dausch, 55, was sentenced in 1990 for the rape and will have a chance at parole starting in the fall of 2017.

Not surprisingly, Assistant State Attorney Pete Magrino is unhappy, “I’m disappointed.  Obviously a jury of his peers decided he was guilty…given all the facts and circumstances…he should suffer…”

Mobley’s body was found hogtied along a road in July of 1987.  The 27-year-old was beaten to death and his car and wallet were stolen.  Several hours later, the car was discovered abandoned off I-65 north of Nashville, Tennessee.  Mobley’s wallet was found near the Florida-Georgia state line.  Homicide detectives didn’t have any leads and the case went cold.  It was revived in 2002 when the Florida Department of Law Enforcement receive a cold case grant to analyze DNA from unsolved cases.  DNA taken from a cigarette found in Mobley’s car and from swabs taken from the body could match Dausch.  Dausch’s fingerprints were also found on Mobley’s car and a cigarette lighter.  A witness at the time also gave the description of someone matching Dausch leaving Mobley’s car.

Dausch was a hitchhiker at the time and was attempting to get back to Indiana on I-75 when he says he was picked up by the real killer.

The only DNA placing Dausch with the victim were anal swabs which were narrowed to 1 in 29 white men, a much higher percentage than other cases.  This means that Dausch was convicted, but 1 in every 29 white men could be the killer.  And while finger and palm prints matching Dausch’s were found in the car, none were on the steering wheel, shifter, radio, or other areas surrounding the driver’s seat.  Fingerprints found on Mobley’s wallet do not match Dausch.

The court ruled that there was plausibility to Dausch’s alibi.  

“We do not take lightly the result that will flow from our decision…We have reviewed the entire record…with utmost seriousness and care…our comprehensive review…leaves us with the inescapable conclusion that the evidence is simply insufficient to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Dausch was the person responsible for murdering Mobley.”

Chief Justice Ricky Polston dissented saying that Dausch’s attempted suicide could point to guilt and that the jury had a right to weigh the evidence as they saw fit.  He concluded not that Dausch’s conviction should stand, but that Dausch should have received a new trial.

The court directed that he be acquitted of all crimes he was convicted of.

Because Dausch’s case was largely circumstantial the court applied a special standard of review, which required “that the circumstances lead to a reasonable and moral certainty that the accused and no one else committed the [crime].  It is not sufficient that the facts create a strong probability of and be consistent with guilt.  They must be inconsistent with innocence.”

The court found that the evidence linked Dausch to the car and not to the victim.

The Court concluded, “At best, the evidence presented by the State creates a suspicion of guilt.  Therefore because we conclude that there is a lack of competent substantial evidence…we reverse and vacate…We remand this case to the trial court with instructions that a judgement of acquittal be entered.”

  1. Roy Morgan says:

    Does anyone know if Carl E DAUSCH HAS PASSED AWAY? ( AS OF 11/13/13 ). I AM hearing from some friends that he did pass away. I can’t find anything showing he passed away. If anyone knows anything please leave a message on here. Thanks…


    • Carl Dausch is still alive. Before he was accused of killing Adrian Mobley, he was serving time in Indiana for an unrelated conviction. He was returned to Indiana to serve out the rest of that sentence after his conviction in Florida was vacated. His earliest possible release date is in 2017.


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