Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


            We, the comrades of Unit 1012, will show our support and love for the family members of Carmen Gayheart, let us pray that justice will be served.


Carmen Gayheart
(September 2, 1970 to April 27, 1994)

Anthony F. Wainwright is pure evil personified.

He and his crime partner, Richard E. Hamilton, kidnapped at gunpoint the very beautiful Lake City Community College student nurse, Carmen Gayheart, from the Lake City, Florida Winn-Dixie food store parking lot.

Carmen had told the would-be killers when she was being kidnapped, she said, "Please don't kill me, I'm a wife and I'm a mother."

They committed this senselessly brutal crime in broad daylight shortly after twelve noon as Carmen was on her way out of the store after purchasing baby food for her two toddlers, who were still at the daycare just down the street.

The date was Wednesday, the 27th day of April, 1994. Carmen, 23, was due to pick up her kids, but instead was abducted and taken 15 miles north, off Interstate 75, to a wooded area of Hamilton County. There, she was brutally raped. She was then robbed, strangled, and shot dead through her head with a .22 caliber rifle.

Wainwright & Hamilton were both escapees from Carteret Correctional Center in Newport, North Carolina at the time that they kidnapped, robbed, raped, strangled, and assassinated the young mother.

Immediately after Carmen's murder, the two killers fled in her Bronco. The next day they were involved in a shoot out with a Mississippi State Trooper and were finally arrested.

Hamilton was the shooter in the attempted killing of the state trooper. Wainwright was driving at that time.

As part of her nursing study program, Carmen had been working at the Lake City VA Medical Center. The unit was called 'Two South.' She had attended two weeks of work study there before reporting back to LCCC.

Richard Hamilton gave several statements to police wherein he admitted kidnapping, robbing, and raping Carmen, but he claimed that Wainwright was the one who strangled and shot her.

Anthony Wainwright on the other hand, admitted to participating in the kidnapping and robbery, but asserted that Hamilton was the one who had raped and killed her.

Wainwright & Hamilton were both charged with first-degree murder, sexual battery, robbery, and kidnapping, all with a firearm, and were found guilty as charged.

For their efforts both Wainwright & Hamilton were sent to Florida's Death Row to await the 'final justice,' (i.e. Carmen's Revenge) that their execution will bring. These two monsters deserve nothing more nor less than that.

Both killers also received three consecutive life prison sentences in addition to their death sentence.

Some of the testimony given during the trial by Wainwright's former cellmate, Robert Murphy--

Q. "Did Tony (Wainwright) say whether or not she [Gayheart] was naked or clothed when she was killed?"

A. "Naked."

Q. "Did he tell you that they had killed anybody else?"

A. "He did. He mentioned something about after they had escaped on the way down from North Carolina somewhere, that they had run across some black people, a drug dealer or whatever, they robbed and killed them. He didn't go into no detail about that. That was about it."

Getting back to the case at hand, Murphy said, "Tony had her [Gayheart] get out of the truck and lay in front of it on the ground buck naked, and commenced to strangle her." "And what he told me is that she didn't die." Hamilton's lawyer then asked, "What do you mean, she didn't die?" Murphy replied, "You know, Tony said, "Well, like when you hit a puppy in the head and it kind of kicks before it dies, that's what she was doing. And that's when I shot her in the back of the head twice and drug her off into a ditch."

Wainwright's semen was found on the rear seat cover of the Ford Bronco, along with some of Carmen's type 'A' blood and Wainwright's type 'O' blood. Carmen's badly beaten, raped, robbed, strangled, and shot body was found partially nude at the scene of the crime some five days later.

Furthermore, Deputy Daniels testified that he learned the following in his discussion with Wainwright:

Wainwright stated that Hamilton folded the backseat down and got back into the Bronco. He made Carmen get all the way into the rear of the Bronco with him and ordered her to take off all her clothes. Wainwright said the tailgate was up and the back window was down.

Wainwright said he walked around, got his cigarettes out of the Bronco and told Hamilton to "come on." Hamilton was busy raping Carmen at this time, having her lay over the backseat on her stomach while he mounted her from behind. Wainwright said Hamilton and Carmen were in the Bronco for about ten minutes. He said Carmen was crying and asking if they were going to let her go.

Carmen was kidnapped, robbed, raped, strangled, and murdered. Her only crime was to stop off at the store to pick up some baby food. For this sin she lost everything. She lost her SUV, her clothing, her dignity, her loving husband... and her life.

The loss that concerned her the most though, the loss that tormented her mind as her captors tormented her body, was the loss of her children. In those final moments of her life, that was what Carmen had talked about - her children.

Both criminals eventually admitted to raping Ms. Gayheart, although the question of who was actually her shooter remains unanswerable to this very day. That's because both killers lie and have lied their entire adult lives.

Carmen was found on Monday, May the 2nd. She was laid to rest in Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens, on Saturday, the 7th day of May, 1994. Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens is located approximately two miles from the Winn-Dixie store, where her terrible ordeal began.

Carmen Gayheart
(September 2, 1970 to April 27, 1994)

Grief-stricken family still waiting for daughter's killers to be executed 20 years later
Carmen Gayheart's killers remain on death row while family questions delays
UPDATED 8:15 AM EDT May 13, 2014

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. —In Florida, the government exacts vengeance for the worst crimes with the ultimate punishment: the death sentence.

"That's all I want. Horrible, maybe, to some people, but again, you haven't walked in my shoes," said Maria Tortora. "Until your loved one is kidnapped, raped and murdered, you don't know how you're going to feel. You just don't."

Tortora and her mother Joanne have been waiting 20 years for her little sister Carmen's killer to be executed.

"She was the sweetest girl on the face of the earth, really, and she didn't deserve what she got," Maria Tortora said.

In 1994, 23-year-old Carmen Gayheart was a Fort Lauderdale nursing student, wife and mother. She and her husband moved to Lake City, Fla., in search of a safer, quieter life.

On April 27 of that year, as Gayheart was on her way to pick up her children from daycare, two escaped convicts from North Carolina spied her in a Winn-Dixie parking lot.

"And they, at gunpoint, forced her into her vehicle and no one ever saw her again," Tortora said.

The search for Gayheart made news across the state. For days, her family and friends feared the worst, and then an off-duty state trooper found Anthony Wainwright and Richard Hamilton in Gayheart's stolen car. There was a shoot-out and both convicts were injured and arrested. They ultimately confessed to kidnapping, raping and killing Gayheart, and led police to her body.

"They left her in the woods, with her groceries. Like garbage. They didn't care," Tortora said.
Not only did the killers lack remorse, they bragged in jail about the crime, and taunted the grieving family in court.  

"He's blowing kisses across the room at myself and my brother-in-law, Carmen's husband," said Tortora, speaking of Hamilton.

The trial was agonizing, but in the end the two juries, one for each defendent, agreed Wainwright and Hamilton were guilty, and the pair was sentenced to death.

"We were elated when we got the death penalty," Tortora said. "Sad for Carmen, it won't bring her back, it will never bring her back, but at least we'll have justice for her."

But the wait for justice has dragged on for 20 years. Tortora's father Richard died last year.
"He didn't live to see justice," Tortora said.

Wainwright and Hamilton have filed reams of appeals. Their cases have gone all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and have been denied.

Tortora has written Gov. Rick Scott, asking he sign the death warrants.

"Once the appeals are exhausted and you're at the end of the line with all of that paperwork, what is the holdup?" she asked. "Why are we sitting. Why are we waiting? What is the reason for that?"

Answered attorney Gregg Lerman: "They want to make sure if this person is going to suffer the ultimate sanction it is truly the appropriate sentence."

Lerman has defended more than a dozen death-penalty cases.

He said the years of appeals and reviews are to make sure innocents are not put to death, and the guilty actually deserve it.

"Death is forever," he said. "I mean, they're suffering by having the death penalty hang over their heads. Does that make the victim's family feel any better? That the person is basically put to sleep, like a dog?"

Gayheart's mother, Joanne Tortora, said it might.

"I have friends who say 'Oh, you can't move on with your life until you forgive them,' and it's just not going to happen," she said. "I can't find it in my heart. I feel it's a betrayal to my daughter. No, they deserve everything they get and more."

"That's all it's about -- is vengeance and retribution," Lerman said.

Vengeance, Punishment, Or Justice?

Gayheart's family says the law calls for execution, and that's what they deserve.

"Justice isn't served until both of them take their last breath," Maria Tortora said. "They didn't give Carmen 20 seconds. They've had 20 years. It's not fair, it's not right."

The Florida Parole Commission won't release any information on the status of the killers' cases, citing confidentiality laws.

Scott's deputy press secretary, John Tupps, responded to WPBF 25 News with a statement:

"Signing death warrants is one of the governor's most solemn duties. His foremost concerns are consideration for the families of the victims and the finality of judgements."

There are currently 396 Florida prisoners on death row, awaiting execution.


Carmen Gayheart
(September 2, 1970 to April 27, 1994)
Carmen Gayheart's loved ones still waiting for ultimate justice after 20 years
Published on May 13, 2014
Carmen Gayheart's killers remain on death row, 20 years after they kidnapped, raped and murdered her.


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