Area Murderer/Rapist Stays on Death Row

Eric Scott Branch, the man who raped a local woman on Panama City Beach and murdered a Pensacola college student in the mid-1990's, failed to get off death row this week.

In its first ruling after a summer recess, the Florida Supreme Court rejected Branch's claims his attorney was ineffective.

On New Years Day 1993 Branch raped a woman in a Thomas Drive apartment.

Ten days later, he resurfaced in Pensacola trying to dump his car. That's when he spotted coed Susan Morris in a University of West Florida parking lot.

She was kidnapped, brutally raped, and beaten to death. Branch then drove Morris' car to Indiana where he was captured.

A Pensacola jury voted 10 to 2 to send Branch to death row. He's also serving 30 years for the Bay County rape.