On Friday, James Dailey (pictured in mugshot) was denied a new trial by a judge in Florida
A Florida judge has denied a new trial for an elderly death row inmate who was convicted of killing a 14-year-old girl in 1985 – despite another man confessing to the grisly murder.
Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa on Friday denied the latest efforts from James Dailey, 73, to prove his innocence in the death of young Shelly Boggio.
Dailey’s attorneys previously sought to introduce new evidence to the case that would reportedly exonerate him, including a confession from co-defendant Jack Pearcy.
Boggio was found stabbed and drowned in the water off Indian Rocks Beach more than 30 years ago. Pearcy and Daily were both convicted of first degree murder in separate trials.
Pearcy is serving a life sentence while Dailey is on death row after the jury declined to recommend a death sentence in Pearcy’s case.
The Tampa Bay Times reports Dailey’s defense obtained a signed statement from Pearcy, 64, in December that read: ‘James Dailey had nothing to do with the murder of Shelly Boggio. I committed the crime alone.’
Both Jack Pearcy, 64, (left) and James Dailey, 73, (right) were convicted in the 1985 murder of Shelly Boggio in St. Petersburg, Florida
Shelly Boggio was found stabbed and drowned in the water off Indian Rocks Beach more than 30 years ago. Pearcy and Daily were both convicted of first degree murder in separate trials
He signed a similar statement in 2017 admitting his guilt.
But in a March court hearing, Pearcy refused to testify and instead professed his own innocence. He’s reportedly given inconsistent statements about his involvement in Boggio’s murder.
Judge Siracusa determined on Friday that there was no admissible evidence for a new trial and Dailey’s death penalty sentence would stand.
Josh Dubin, Dailey’s lead defense attorney, said in a statement: ‘Unfortunately, the trial court ruled today that it could not consider the overwhelming evidence of Mr. Dailey’s innocence, including Jack Pearcy’s repeated confessions that he committed the murder alone, because of its view concerning a number of technical legal requirements.’
‘We respectfully disagree with the Court’s ruling and will continue to fight for justice for James Dailey. He did not murder Shelly Boggio.
James Dailey, 73, pictured at the time of his arrest, was originally scheduled to be executed on November 7 last year but a federal court gave defense lawyers more time to make their case after his co-defendant, Jack Pearcy, 64, said he was solely responsible for the death
In September, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered Dailey’s execution for November 7, but a federal judge later approved a stay of execution to give Dailey’s attorneys more time to research the case.
A new execution date for Dailey has not been scheduled yet.
Dailey currently has an appeal pending with the US Supreme Court in another effort to halt his execution.
In 1987, Dailey was sentenced to death row over the killing of Boggio two years earlier in St. Petersburg.
Authorities said that Dailey, Pearcy and one other man met Boggio while she was hitchhiking with her twin sister in May 1985.
After a night of drinking, Dailey and Pearcy took Boggio to a deserted fishing area.
Court documents said Boggio had been beaten, choked, stabbed 31 times and held underwater until she died.
Her body was later found near the Walsingham Road bridge near Indian Rocks Beach one morning.
When Pearcy was arrested in Kansas, he told detectives that Dailey was the one who stabbed Boggio and held her underwater. Pearcy claimed he tried to stop the attack.
He told police the night he was arrested: ‘I just want you to know that I got out of the car and tried to stop Jimmy D. from stabbing her, but when I saw it, I puked all over the place.’
In following appeals, Dailey maintained that he was innocent and that he was asleep at his home when the murder happened.
No physical evidence linked Dailey to the murder, The Times reports.
Dailey himself told the state’s parole commission in 2015: ‘I am innocent. Jack Pearcy killed that girl, but I have no way to prove that.’
Jack Pearcy, pictured in 1987, wrote in December last year: ‘James Dailey had nothing to do with the murder of Shelly Boggio. I committed the crime alone.’
Dailey was largely convicted based on testimony from three jailhouse informants, who claimed that he shared descriptive and graphic details of Boggio’s death.
Paul Skalnik, one of the jailhouse informants, was notorious for snitching and testified in several cases for lenient treatment.
Earlier this year, Dailey alleged that prosecutors had committed ‘a fraud on the court’ by withholding key information about the star witness from the jury.
Dailey’s defense attorneys allege that the star witness, Paul Skalnik, misrepresented his history of criminal charges during his testimony by failing to disclose that he had been charged with lewd and lascivious assault on a child under 14 in 1982.
The charge was later dropped as part of a plea bargain.
This had left the jury with a ‘grossly distorted (diminished) understanding of Skalnik’s criminal history,’ they said.
Dailey denied in an interview with ABC News that he had ever had a conversation with Skalnik, much less confessed to a known jailhouse snitch.
He said: ‘I never said a word to him in my life, and I had to sit there in the courtroom and listen to him just say I confessed all these horrible things to him, and I never said anything to him.’
Dailey’s case has been tried twice with two different juries, but each recommended the death penalty.