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The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal in a decades-old Tallahassee murder case

U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington DC
Jim Glab
U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington DC. Jeanne Bickner met her killer in the Governor's Square Mall parking lot in August 1984.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to take up an appeal in the 1984 murder of a woman who met the killer in the parking lot of a Tallahassee shopping mall.

Justices, as is common, did not explain their reasons for declining to take up the appeal filed by attorneys for Joe Elton Nixon, now 60. Nixon was convicted and sentenced to death in the August 1984 kidnapping and murder of Jeanne Bickner.

A brief in the Florida Supreme Court filed by Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office said Nixon asked Bickner for help jump-starting a car in a mall parking lot and then asked for a ride to his uncle’s house. He directed her to a remote area of Leon County, where he tied her to a tree with jumper cables and murdered her, including burning her body, according to the brief.

The Florida Supreme Court last year turned down an appeal in which Nixon contended he should be shielded from the death penalty because he is intellectually disabled. Nixon’s attorneys then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.