Tallahassee Murder Case Headed to U.S. Supreme Court

On the fourth floor of the Leon County Courthouse they wanted to know if the justice would be well enough to hear a Tallahassee case next week.

Despite his recent tracheotomy, Chief Justice William Rehnquist is expected on the bench next week to hear the next batch of cases, including a death penalty case out of Tallahassee of death row inmate Joe Elton Nixon.

Prosecutor Eddie Evans says, "With his tracheotomy he may not be able to ask questions, or as many questions as he initially would, but it shouldn't have a major impact in the sense that even if he isn't able to attend the oral arguments he will still be able to participate in deciding the case."

Prosecutor Eddie Evans will be among the lawyers in Washington next Tuesday trying to convince justices to overturn a Florida Supreme Court decision that granted Joe
Elton Nixon a new trial.

John Livings, a former homicide detective, says, "Sitting there with her tied between two trees, burned, totally beyond recognition…"

Former homicide detective John Livings remembers the day back in 1984 that they found Jeanne Bickner's body. Joe Elton Nixon was ultimately convicted and sentenced to die for her murder, but last year the Florida Supreme Court said Nixon deserved a new trial. The state is appealing.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Supreme Court says if Rehnquist is not present for oral arguments in the Nixon case Tuesday there will be no delays; Rehnquist would simply review audio tapes and transcripts before joining the others in issuing a decision.

The state of Florida vs. Joe Elton Nixon is on the U.S. Supreme Court docket next Tuesday.