Joshua Nelson Remains on Death Row: Appeal Denied

The Supreme Court of Florida has denied Joshua Nelson’s appeal of his sentence of death. Nelson was convicted of murdering Cape Coral teenager Tommy Owens following a trial in 1996. 

It was March 1995 when Nelson and co-defendant Keith Brennan hatched a plan to murder Owens and steal his car. The pair lured him to a remote street in the Cape and hit him multiple times with a baseball bat. They then used a box cutter to slit his throat. Owens remained conscious and according to his killers, begged to be knocked out. Nelson hit him again and the pair dragged his body to some nearby bushes where Owens later died. 

At the time of the crime Nelson was 18 and Brennan was 16. Brennan was sentenced to death but it was later converted to a life sentence when the Florida Supreme Court declared that no 16 year old would be death eligible. 

State Attorney Steve Russell prosecuted the cases. “This was a heinous murder. It is something the family of Tommy Owens has had to live with. I am pleased that once again the Supreme Court of Florida upheld the capital convictions.”

Samantha Syoen
Communications Director
State Attorney’s Office