Crime & Courts
Execution appeal denied for Mann, convicted in Pinellas murder
TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Supreme Court has denied the latest appeal of Larry Eugene Mann, who was convicted for the 1980 murder of a Palm Harbor 10-year-old. The court denied Mann's request Tuesday for what is called “postconviction relief.” Gov. Rick Scott had signed a death warrant for Mann to be carried out by lethal injection at Florida State Prison near Raiford on April 10. Mann was convicted and sentenced to death in 1982 for kidnapping and murdering 10-year-old Elisa Nelson as she rode her bicycle to school. The girl was beaten with a piece of pipe and stabbed to death in an abandoned orange grove.Mann’s death sentence was overturned once because the trial court made a legal error. He was resentenced to death and the Supreme Court then affirmed that sentence. Former Gov. Bob Graham signed Mann's first death warrant in 1986. Mann has appealed in state and federal court since then. According to court records, Elisa Nelson was riding her bike to school on Nov. 4, 1980, but was late because of a dentist appointment. She carried a note from her mom. She never made it to school and her bicycle was found later that day. That same day, Mann tried to kill himself by slitting his wrist and was hospitalized. He later told police he had “done something stupid.” The next day, Elisa's body was found in an orange grove. She had died from a skull fracture. On Nov. 8, Mann's wife was getting his glasses out of his pickup truck and found the note Elisa's mother had written. It had blood stains on it. The wife called police and Mann was arrested on Nov. 10. Mann's criminal record prior to the Elisa’s murder included convictions for molesting a 7-year-old girl in the 1960s and a 1973 rape in Mississippi. Mann was on parole for the latter when he murdered Elisa. During the trial, the former well-driller from Dunedin was described as a chronic alcoholic and drug abuser who was so "ashamed and disgusted with himself" after the murder that he tried to kill himself within hours of the crime. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.