Death Row inmate's appeal rejected in 1995 Central Florida murder


The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal by a Death Row inmate convicted of strangling a woman outside a Winn-Dixie supermarket in October 1995 in Osceola County.

The appeal was filed by attorneys for Scott Mansfield, now 57, who was sentenced to death for the killing of Sara Robles, whose body was found in a grassy area next to a Winn-Dixie in Kissimmee, according to a summary of the case included in a brief filed by Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office.

Robles’ breasts and pelvic area had been mutilated, the brief said. Robles and Mansfield had been seen together in a bar in the same shopping center as the Winn-Dixie before she was killed.

The Supreme Court opinion Thursday said Mansfield’s appeal was based, at least in part, on a January 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a case known as Hurst v. Florida and a subsequent Florida Supreme Court decision.

The 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling found Florida's death-penalty sentencing system was unconstitutional because it gave too much authority to judges, instead of juries.

The subsequent Florida Supreme Court ruling said juries must unanimously agree on critical findings before judges can impose death sentences and must unanimously recommend the death penalty.

But in Mansfield’s case, like in many other old death-penalty cases, the Florida justices ruled that the new sentencing guidelines should not apply retroactively.

That is because Mansfield was sentenced to death before June 2002, which is when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling known as Ring v. Arizona that was a premise for striking down Florida's death-penalty sentencing system in 2016.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.