NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (December 27, 2019) — The Pasco County Sheriff’s announced that they have charged a 34-year-old man with premeditated murder from a case that occurred in 2005. The man sheriff’s deputies charged is now held in the Pasco County Detention Center without bail. Investigators say the man’s last residence is listed as Port Richey. According to an article appearing on suncoastnews.com, investigators were able to bring charges in this case because of a positive DNA result from a strand of hair left at the crime scene. Additionally, witnesses told police that the man they charged confessed to the murder despite claiming his innocence with police during interrogations. The sheriff’s office called the arrest in the case exciting.
The case the detectives built suggested that sometime in the morning hours of September 11, 2005, the accused broke into the 79-year-old widow’s home by pushing in her screen. The man went inside expecting to find that no one was home. Instead, the homeowner was there as was her dog. The assailant killed the dog and then bludgeoned the woman until she died. Investigators suspect that the man beat the woman to death with his hands and feet. The police noted that the victim sustained significant head trauma and had what they describe as defensive wounds.
Someone broke into the woman’s home a few weeks before she died. The intruder took prescription pills during that incident. Investigators say that the man they charged with murder is also responsible for that crime as well.
The woman was retired and lived alone after she lost her husband. She volunteered as a cook at a local church’s soup kitchen.
The man police charged with the crime is already behind bars. He is serving a 23.5-year state prison sentence for breaking into an elderly man’s home and beating him. The elderly victim survived the attack.
Degrees of Murder in Florida
Forty-seven states in the country define murder in terms of first-degree, second-degree, or manslaughter. Florida, and two other states, have three degrees of murder. In Florida, first-degree murder is the willful and premeditated killing of another. Additionally, first-degree murder in Florida also encompasses the “felony-murder rule.” The felony-murder rule states that any killing committed during the commission of a violent felony or dangerous crime is first-degree murder.
Murder in the second degree is a killing that evinces a depraved mind and no regard for the sanctity of human life or during the commission of any of the enumerated offenses. Second-degree murder may be charged when there is no proof of deliberate premeditation. Third-degree murder may be charged when the assailant kills another during the commission or attempted commission of a felony that does not include the element of violence.
Florida statutes §782.04 defines the permissible penalties for murder in Florida. For first-degree murder, the person convicted faces life in prison or the death penalty. Second-degree murder is a first-degree felony that could result in the sentence of life or any term of years. The punishment of third-degree murder is the same as that for a second-degree felony. The perpetrator of a third-degree murder faces up to fifteen years in prison.