Georgia man sentenced to death in Bay County court for the second time

Caylor was found guilty of raping & murdering a 13-year-old. NC7's Jamilka Gibson was at the Bay County Courthouse where Matthew Caylor's sentencing took place.
Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 4:36 PM CST
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A Georgia man convicted of killing a 13-year-old girl in Panama City was sentenced to death for a second time Thursday.

Matthew Caylor, 47, who was a registered sex offender, raped and strangled Melinda Hinson at the Valu-Loge Motel more than 14 years ago. A maid found Hinson’s body underneath the bed two days later.

Chief Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson issued the sentence with a sentencing order 13 pages long, ending with “The Court finds that the aggravating factors in this case far outweigh the mitigating circumstances.”

In November, Caylor was given a Spencer hearing, where he asked the judge to consider life in prison. This came after his original death sentence was thrown out due to a 2016 Florida Supreme Court law that forced death penalty verdicts to be unanimous.

Caylor waived his right to a jury trial this time, opting to allow a judge to make the decision.

“I originally prosecuted and convicted the defendant 13 and a half years ago and I remember well the agony caused by his horrific actions,” State Attorney Larry Basford said. “I also remember the tireless efforts of the Panama City Police Department and others to investigate and solve this case. In 2009 a Bay County jury and Judge Dedee Costello decided that death was the appropriate sentence for sexually battering and killing this child. Judge Patterson, after reviewing the records and hearing all the other relevant evidence has also found that the death sentence was and is proper in this case, I agree.”

Judge Christopher Patterson sentenced Caylor to death for the second time Thursday at the Bay County Courthouse in Panama City.

“It is now hereby ordered that you Matthew Lee Caylor be taken by the proper authority to the Florida Department of Corrections to be housed there till the date of your execution,” said the Judge. It is further ordered that upon set scheduled date you Matthew Lee Caylor shall be put to death.”

Officials say Caylor’s case is the second death penalty retrial in the circuit following the passing of the 2016 Florida Supreme Court Law.