MANATEE -- The United States Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from Delmer Smith, the man convicted and sentenced to die for the 2009 murder of Kathleen Briles at her home in Terra Ceia.
The denial to hear Smith's case came on Monday, according to the website of the nation's highest court.
In July 2015, the Florida Supreme Court upheld the conviction and death sentence for Smith.
"After a thorough review of all the issues raised by Smith, and after our own independent review of the proportionality of Smith's sentence of death, we affirm Smith's conviction for first-degree murder and sentence of death," the Florida justices wrote in their opinion when they upheld the conviction last year.
A jury convicted Smith on Aug. 2, 2012, of the first-degree murder of Briles, who was beaten to death with her cast-iron antique sewing machine in her Terra Ceia home on Aug. 9, 2009. When the verdict was read, Smith showed no emotion.
On May 28, 2013, Circuit Judge Peter Dubensky sentenced Smith to death with a unanimous recommendation from the jury.
Smith's appeal was based on claims that he was entitled to relief because the trial court made mistakes in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal, denying his motion for mistrial, in permitting one inmate to testify that he threatened a witness, denying a continuance, failing to find the murder heinous, atrocious or cruel amd rejecting two proposed mitigating factors. He also argued the state's death penalty scheme is unconstitutional.
Messages for comment were left for both Smith's public defender, Julius Aulisio, and Senior Assistant Attorney General Carol M. Dittmar.
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter@AmarisCastillo.