New evidence submitted three days before stay lifted on James Dailey execution

With only three days until a stay of execution is lifted, an attorney for James Dailey has submitted new evidence to Pinellas County Court that he says clears his client.

As part of a motion to vacate Dailey's conviction in the 1985 death of Shelly Boggio, lawyer Joshua Dubin included a declaration from co-defendant Jack Pearcy, in which he says, "James Dailey had nothing to do with the murder of Shelly Boggio. I committed the crime alone."

Pearcy is serving a life sentence in 14-year-old Shelly Boggio's death. Her body was found near Indian Rocks Beach.

Dubin is demanding clemency from the governor, who had signed a death warrant for Dailey to be executed on Nov. 7. A federal judge issued a stay until Dec. 30 to give attorneys an opportunity to file appeals.

"This is somebody who genuinely wants to come clean," Dubin said of Pearcy.

Documents say the Dec. 18 statement is the fifth time Pearcy has confessed to killing Boggio. Along with telling fellow inmates over the years, he also signed an affidavit in 2017, but declined to testify then.

Now Dailey's lawyer says he will.

"Had a jury known that Jack Pearcy has confessed continually," said Dubin, "a jury would more than likely acquit James Dailey."

Further, Dailey's attorney says the case was built on testimony from three inmates who were allegedly pressured to say Dailey confessed and then given "get out of jail free" cards. 

Inmate Paul Skalnik said Dailey told him, "Boggio kept staring at me, screaming and would not die." 

The attorney points to a Pro Publica investigation that argues Skalnik is a professional snitch with a history of deception.

"The very foundation of that case was the testimony of a known fraud and con man who has been exposed," Dubin said on Dec. 18.

Boggio's family doesn't believe it, saying Dailey was seen that night with wet clothes, returning home around the time Boggio died. 

They point to the original testimony from informants, who said Dailey made it clear: he did it.

"It is appalling. It is disgusting. We all are suffering from it," said Andrea Boggio, a cousin of Shelly's. "It was the two of them. This is just another desperate plea."

Dailey's lawyer told the court newer testimony refuted both the reasons for the wet clothes and the time Dailey returned home. It will be up to the governor to grant a clemency hearing, or sign a new death warrant.