The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal by a Death Row inmate convicted of killing his girlfriend and her three children in 1998 in Okaloosa County. Jeffrey Hutchinson was sentenced to death for killing the children and life in prison for killing his girlfriend, Renee Flaherty. The children were ages 4, 7 and 9. In the appeal, Hutchinson argued that newly discovered evidence had emerged about an FBI investigation related to two people who testified against him during the murder trial. The testimony identified Hutchinson’s voice on a 911 call after Flaherty and the children were shot. The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously upheld a circuit judge’s decision rejecting Hutchinson’s argument. “Based on our review of the record, we conclude that the FBI records would not likely produce an acquittal on retrial,” the 10-page Supreme Court opinion said. “This is so for two main reasons. One, the FBI records do not bolster Hutchinson’s defense that someone else committed the murders or seriously call into question that he made the 911 call. Two, the state presented overwhelming evidence of his guilt — including evidence that the victims’ blood and body tissue was on Hutchinson’s leg and clothing; that gunpowder residue was on Hutchinson’s hands; that Hutchinson had no defensive wounds consistent with a struggle with unknown intruders; and that he owned the murder weapon, a Mossberg shotgun, which police found at the scene of the crime.” Hutchinson, now 59, is an inmate at Union Correctional Institution, according to the state Department of Corrections website.

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