Donna L. Murray, M.A.
LICENSE # C1100008 • #A1400174

Highlights of Qualifications

  • Excellent investigative skills with effective interviewing techniques
  • Successful development of themes of mitigation resulting in death waivers
  • Social work background with exceptional interpersonal communication skills
  • Ability to quickly establish positive rapport with clients, experts, witnesses and colleagues
  • Proficient in gathering social histories for thorough mitigation investigations

Licensure / Certifications / Commission

  • Licensed Private Investigator, State of Florida License #C1100008,
  • Owner – Licensed Private Investigative Agency # A1400174
  • Forensic Social Worker for Juvenile Resentencing
  • JIS/FCIC Certified, FL Dept. of Law Enforcement
  • Certified Forensic Interviewer and Interrogator, FGCU
  • Certified Child Protective Investigator, FL Dept. of Children and Families
  • Certified OSHA First Responder – Operations Level, California Dept. of Justice
  • Notary Public, State of Florida

Community Service

  • Department of Children and Families
    · Hurricane Relief Worker, Emergency Food Stamp Program 2005 – Lee County
    · Hurricane Relief Worker, Emergency Food Stamp Program 2004 – Charlotte/Hendry County
  • Girl Scouts of Gulf Coast, Florida
  • Rotary Club of Cape Coral North


  • Master’s in Criminal Justice Administration, University of South Florida
  • Phi Kappa Phi
  • Recipient of Outstanding Graduate Student Award
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, University of South Florida
  • Associate Degree in Criminal Justice, Edison Community College
  • Phi Theta Kappa

Professional Associations

  • The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi [Membership by Invitation for academic excellence]
  • National Defender Investigator Association (NDIA)
    Conference Committee Member
  • National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
  • National Alliance of Sentencing Advocates and Mitigation Specialists (NASAMS)
    Nominations Committee Member 2017
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL)
  • American Society of Criminology, (ASC) Corrections & Sentencing and Victimology Divisions

Media Presentations

  • A&E special series: Kids Life Or Parole, aired 2019
    Interviewed in 3 episodes of an 8 episode series: Resentencing cases: “Preston” and “Ron Bell”
  • Public Radio Interview, 29 minute Public Service Announcement broadcast
    Topic: Child Protective Investigation Procedures in Florida broadcast November, 2005 on WJPT-FM, 106.3, Estero, Florida


Capital Mitigation Consultants, Murdock, FL 01/13 – 04/2017
Mitigation Specialist
Conduct extensive mitigation investigations; interview witnesses; in-depth review, analysis and summary of various records; create and design themes of mitigation; consult with variety of experts such as cultural, medical and mental health experts in developing mitigation strategy; prepare timelines and extensive social histories. Preparation of waiver packages and successfully obtained numerous Life pleas and death waivers.


Office of the Public Defender, Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Ft. Myers, FL 05/07 – 01/2013
Mitigation Specialist (2008 – 01/2013)
Conducted extensive Mitigation Investigations instrumental in successful death waivers and life sentences. Recipient of Davis Productivity Award (team) 2012 for in-house Mitigation


Chief Investigator, Lee County (08/09 – 01/2013)

  • Supervise/direct activities of Investigators and Investigative support staff in the Lee County office
  • Mentor and provide guidance to Investigators in branch offices (Collier, Hendry, Charlotte)
  • Assign Investigation Requests and Review Investigations submitted for closure
  • Liaison between Investigative Division and Assistant Public Defenders
  • Conduct annual evaluations of Investigative Division staff members
  • Counsel and mentor Investigative Division staff members as needed
  • Liaison to LCSO Visitation Center clerks re video visitation of inmates
  • Consult with IT Director for Investigations database, electronic forms and enhancements
  • TAC (Terminal Agency Coordinator) for FCIC access through JIS with FDLE
  • Conduct mitigation investigations for death penalty cases
  • Prepare in-depth investigative reports regarding interviews, evidence review
  • Perform Intake interviews on clients newly in custody
  • Carry out in-depth initial and follow-up interviews of clients charged with murder
  • Create Timelines, Family Trees, Power Point Presentations for Capital Mitigation cases
  • Task Supervisor for FGCU Social Work graduate and undergraduate Interns (BSW and MSW)
  • Conduct biopsychosocial interviews and recommendations for Alternative Sentencing options
  • Prepare department comprehensive monthly reports for the Public Defender
  • Conduct background checks on potential new employees
  • Schedule jail tours and facilitate obtaining jail badges for new attorneys and investigators
  • Designed Investigation Division Brochure
  • Oversee maintenance of agency vehicles in Lee County
  • Oversee procedure for cases nolle-prossed by State to ensure timely release of defendants
  • Recognized as the 2011 NASW “Public Citizen of the Year” [National Assoc. of Social Workers] Recipient of 2012 Melissa Kupferburg Scholarship by the National Defender Investigator Association
  • Featured in the July 2012 edition of the NDIA Newsletter, Eagle’s Eye


Investigator III (05/07 – 08/09)
Promoted to Chief Investigator for Lee County in August, 2009

  • Conducted hundreds of criminal defense investigations of felony, misdemeanor and juvenile cases
  • Perform in-custody adult intake interviews and juvenile interviews
  • Obtain reports and documentation from other agencies, law enforcement, health, education
  • Run criminal history/FCIC background checks on defendants, victims and witnesses
  • Field investigations to locate witnesses, photograph crime scenes and evidence, subpoena service
  • Prepare cogent Investigation Reports
  • Staff Investigative tasks with assigned attorney, discuss options and make recommendations
  • Testify during court proceedings regarding investigations


Florida Department of Children and Families, Ft. Myers, FL 4/02 – 05/07
Child Protective Investigator II

  • Conducted hundreds of child abuse investigations, interviews, developed witnesses, gathered evidence, immediate safety actions, take drastic actions as needed to ensure child safety
  • Acting Supervisor when requested in supervisor’s absence
  • Mentor new employees, assist in field based training, review performance
  • Make social service referrals to assist and strengthen families
  • Present cogent and precise testimony and prepare comprehensive reports for court presentation
  • Complete and close investigations within statutory time frame to avoid backlog of cases
  • Comprehensive presentations during ITR (Intake-Triage-Referral) staffing to Case Manager
  • Accomplishments:
    • Participant in State-wide pilot program for high-speed Citrix access for Hsn
    • Organized two separate holiday Toy Drives – collected toy donations valued in excess of $2,000
    • Regular Guest Speaker for bi-monthly Guardian Ad Litem training classes
    • Recipient of 2006 Davis Productivity Award Certificate
    • Recipient of 2006 Outstanding Employee of the Year Award


National Defender Investigator Association 2017 National Conference, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

  • The Mitigation Investigator in Death Penalty and Juvenile Resentencing Cases
  • Working with Expert Witnesses in Capital Trials and Juvenile Resentencing
    Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers 2014 Death Is Different, Orlando, FL
  • Selecting and Utilizing Experts

National Defender Investigator Association 2014 National Conference, New Orleans, LA

  • The Mitigation Specialist
  • Selecting and Utilizing Experts during Phase Two of a Capital Trial

Florida Capital Resource Center 2014 seminar series (Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Jacksonville)

  • Selecting and Utilizing Experts

National Defender Investigator Association 2013 Regional Conference, Jacksonville, FL

  • The role of Mitigation in Death Penalty Cases (9/5/13)

Criminal Defense Investigation Presentations / Guest Speaker

  • High School Criminal Justice Class, two presentations, Ida Baker High School, Cape Coral
  • Interviewing Techniques workshop for all investigators in the 20th Judicial Circuit Public Defender Office
  • Defense Tactics for Defending Child Abuse Cases for attorneys in 20th Judicial Circuit Public Defender

Child Protection Investigation Presentations / Guest Speaker

  • North Ft. Myers Academy of the Arts, Elementary School Teachers, In-service
  • Girl Scouts of Gulf Coast Florida , In-service for Troop Leaders
  • Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral, Guest Speaker
  • Knights of Columbus, Council 7131, Guest Speaker
  • Department of Revenue, In-service
  • Department of Heath, In-service
  • Edison College, Guest Speaker, Social Services Class
  • Florida Gulf Coast University, Guest Speaker, Social Services Class
  • First Christian Church, Lehigh Acres, Fl., Daycare Employees, In-service
  • MAPP Class, McGregor Baptist Church, for new Foster Parents
  • Guardian Ad Litem Training Classes, Bi-monthly, Guest Speaker
  • Methamphetamine Indicators for Child Protective Investigators, Lee County

Continuing Education / Seminars and Conferences Capital Mitigation Training

  • Life Over Death, Bonita Springs, FL (October 19-21, 2017)
  • Sentencing Training w/ Colorado Method Capital Voir Dire introduction, Orlando, FL (October 8-9, 2017)
  • Nitty Gritty Mitigation Sentencing Strategies, Orlando, FL (July 24-25, 2017)
  • FACDL Death is Different XXIII, Orlando, FL (March 16-18, 2017)
  • Florida’s New Death Penalty Scheme – Mitigation, Miami, FL (June 30, 2016)
  • Life over Death, Bonita Springs, FL (September 10-12, 2015)
  • FACDL Death is Different XX, Orlando, FL (March 5-7, 2014)
  • Anatomy of a Capital Case & Learning to Defend Homicides, CCCRC
    Altamonte Springs, FL (January 23-24, 2014)
  • Anatomy of a Capital Case; Evolution of the Death Penalty; Jury Selection in Homicide
    Cases; Forensic Medical Evidence Defense Issues; Conducting a Comprehensive
    Mitigation Investigation; Aggravating & Mitigating Circumstances
    NACDL Making the Case for Life – National Conference, Charlotte, NC (Oct. 23-25, 2014)
  • Florida Capital Resource Center – Capital Forensics: Investigating and Challenging
    Forensic Evidence in Capital Cases, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (January 17, 2014)
  • Florida Capital Resource Center – Mitigation Workshop: Mitigation Strategies &
    Techniques for Capital Cases, Miami, FL (December, 2012)
  • Life Over Death XXX1 – Death Penalty Training Program, Orlando, FL (September 6-8, 2012)
  • Primer; Cohesive Mitigation Presentations; Effective Investigations; Snitch Issues;
    Advanced Fundamental Investigation; Mitigation that Works; Frontline – The Confessions FACDL Bring Your Own Case – Capital Mitigation Seminar, Florida A&M Univ. College of Law (Jan 5-7, 2012)
  • Life Over Death XXIX – Death Penalty Training Program, Naples, FL (September 23-25, 2010)
  • Ethical Decisions in Handling Volunteers; Representing Foreign Nationals;
    Lethal Injection; Ethically Handling High Publicity Cases; Mental Health Mitigation;
    Victim Impact; Investigating Mental Health Mitigation; Preparing for the Medical
    Examiner; Dealing with the Stress of Capital Cases
    Capital Mitigation Workshop, Orlando Public Defender’s Office (January 29-30, 2009)
  • ABA Guidelines; Understanding the Law; Aggravating Circumstances; Mitigating
    Circumstances; Recognizing Signs of Mental Illness; Records Collection and
    Analysis; Record Maintenance; Computer Searches; Conducting Family interviews;
    Life Over Death Conference, FL Public Defender Association, Orlando, FL (Sept 6-8, 2007)
  • Introduction Primer to Death Penalty; Mental Disorders; Fire Investigation on
    a First Degree Murder Case; Mental Health Mitigation; Police Interrogation and
    False Confession; Video Surveillance Issues; Ethical Issues and Strategies in
    Dealing with Testimony from Medical Examiner; The Changing Nature of Death
    Penalty Debates; Federal Death Penalty Projects – Nat’l Mitigation Coordinator;
    Capital Jury Selection: The Colorado Method as Applied to Florida

Juvenile Resentencing Training

  • The Adolescent Brain: How the Research and Developments in Adolescent Psychology – Can Inform Reliable Sentencing Outcomes, Hillsborough County Bar Association (February 6, 2017)
  • Miller Training/Juvenile Resentencing, FACDL, FPDA Winter Conference, Naples. FL .(December 2, 2016)
  • Topics in Juvenile Law – Resentencing under Graham, Orlando, FL (June 10, 2016)
  • Kids are Different – Miller/Graham Juvenile Cases, FACDL, Orlando, FL (September 25-26, 2015)

Criminal Defense Investigation Training

  • Baker Act Seminar, Ft. Myers, FL (June, 2007)
  • First Aid/CPR Training, American Red Cross (5 hrs), Ft. Myers, FL (August 15, 2007)
  • FCIC Certification Training, FDLE, (4 hrs) Cape Coral, FL (April 16, 2008)
  • TAC Training, FDLE (4 hrs) Terminal Agency Coordinator (June 25, 2008)
  • CPR and AED recertification, American Red Cross, Ft. Myers, FL (October 8, 2008)
  • CJIS Visioning the Future, Ft. Myers, FL (October 29-30, 2008)
  • Microsoft Office 2007 Training, (8 hrs) Ft. Myers, FL. (November 12, 2008)
  • Field Instructor & Clinical Supervisor Training, (16 hrs) FGCU MSW Intern Program (9/11&18/2009)
  • CJIS Refresher Training, Ft. Myers, FL (November 30, 2009)
  • FCIC/JIS Recertification Training, (3 hrs) FDLE, Ft. Myers, FL (May 11, 2010)
  • Use of Force / Stand Your Ground training, Ft. Myers, FL (August, 2012)

National Defender Investigator Association

  • National Conference, Atlanta, GA (April 18-20, 2012)
  • Regional Conference – Jacksonville, FL. (Sept. 5-6, 2013)
  • National Conference – New Orleans, LA (April, 2014)
  • National Conference – Ft. Lauderdale, FL (April, 2017)

Child Protection Certification Training

  • M. E. Lawsuit (July 30, 2002)
  • Mentor Training (January 22-23, 2003)
  • HIPPA Training (2003, 2004)
  • Why Parents Spank (April 24, 2003)
  • 2003 Dependency Court Improvement Summit, Orlando, FL (August 26-29, 2003)
  • General Case Law Update
  • Child Abuse Reporting: Hotline
  • Right & Legal – Is It Always the Same Thing? •Forensic Interviewing of Children
  • Child Abuse Investigations: Law Enforcement and DCF Recommendations
  • Ethics Training, Ft. Myers, FL (September 12, 2003)
  • Customer Service, Ft. Myers, FL (September 18, 2003)
  • Forensic Interviewing, FDLE, Ft. Myers, FL (September 27, 2003)
  • Digital Camera Training, Ft. Myers, FL (October, 9 2003)
  • Domestic Violence to Victory, Sanibel Isl., FL. (October 17, 2003)
  • Medical Intervention, Ft. Myers, FL. (October 17, 2003)
  • Safety Planning, Ft. Myers, FL (November 18, 2003)HSN On call Schedule, Ft. Myers,
  • FL (January 9, 2004); HSN Reports (February 17, 2005)
  • Interviewing Techniques, FDLE, Ft. Myers, FL (January 20, 2004)
  • Physical Abuse Indicators, FDLE, Ft. Myers, FL (January 21, 2004)
  • Casework Practice (Documentation Training), Ft. Myers, FL (June 11, 2004)
  • Clandestine Methamphetamine Labs COPS Conference, Weston, FL (January 10-12, 2005)
  • OSHA First Responder Certification (8 hrs), Weston, FL (January 13, 2005)
  • State Attorney Office Training, Ft., Myers, FL. (March 18, 2005)
  • Psychotropic Medications, Ft. Myers, FL (April 8, 2005)
  • Civil Rights Training, Ft. Myers, FL (April 18, 2005)
  • Child Sexual Exploitation, Ft. Myers, FL (May 11, 2005)
  • Children’s Advocacy Center Annual Conference, Orlando, FL (May 18-19, 2005)
  • Trial Strategies, Physical & Sexual Abuse
  • Family Violence and Custody I & II (June 2-3, 2005)
  • Strengthening Families (June 4, 2005)
  • Strategic Planning (November 1, 2005)
  • Bldg a Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Assault (December 2, 2005)
  • Florida Abuse Hotline, Ft. Myers, FL (January 23, 2006)
  • Drug Endangered Children (January 30-31, 2006)