Lonnie Redner’s Life Sentence for Double Murder Ends an Almost 4-Year-Old Case
FlaglerLive | August 26, 2013
It was all about 50 prescription pills and $20 in cash. For that, Palm Coast resident Lonnie Redner, 35, murdered Mike Floyd, 43, and Andrew Kakowski, 26, execution style, on Nov. 11, 2009, in the victims’ Ormond-by-the-Sea home. Two days later Redner returned to the house, where the two men were decomposing in their living room, robbed the place of more cash and pills, then went to a gas station, filled up, and, with his girlfriend, crushed the pills and snorted them.
The bodies of the victims at 58 Alamanda Drive would not be found until four days after the murders. They were found by Kakowski’s mother and her boyfriend
On Friday, Volusia County Circuit Judge Frank Marriott sentenced Redner, 35, to life in prison without parole on the two murder counts. He was also sentenced to 25 years on each of the robbery and armed burglary charges, after a weeklong jury trial in Volusia.
Taking the stand, Redner claimed he never shot the men, but that he found them dead in the living room, with their door open, when he’d gone there admittedly to rob them. His defense attorney, Bradley Sherman, argued that Floyd and Kakowski had died from a murder-suicide, and noted that police at first had ruled the deaths as such, only to change the determination later to murder. Floyd had been distraught at the time of the murders: his wife, Kathleen Floyd, and his 17-year-old stepdaughter Rachel Wright, both of whom had lived at the rented apartment with Floyd, had been killed in a Holly Hill car crash just two months earlier.
The evidence had gradually stacked against Redner as investigators spoke with his live-girlfriend at the time, Tracy Sneed, now 38, and with their roommates at the time, Erin Bracken, now 29, and Justin McCalligan, now also 29. The quartet lived at 38 Westbriar Lane at the time of the murders, but at one time or another near the date the murders were committed, all four were at the Flagler County jail on a variety of charges.
Investigators got their first major break in the case when McCalligan revealed a succession of events shortly before and shortly after the killings. Ten days before the killings, he and Redner had gone to the victims’ house, where Redner bought $150-worth of prescription pills. Another witness would tell investigators that Redner was a frequent visitor at the Ormond-by-the-Sea house, and that in early November 2009 he’d bought and started carrying a .380-caliber gun.
Floyd and Kakowski didn’t like to see the gun in their house, and told Redner that, according to another frequent visitor at the house who cooperated with police. Redner was unfazed. He told Floyd that he was carrying the firearm because he’d just robbed someone of $1,000, and needed to watch his back. He then told Floyd, according to Redner’s arrest report: “You’re not shit to me. I’ll put you in the ground, boy.”
He lived up to his threat. The day he’d bought the $150-worth of prescription pills from the victim, he’d told McCalligan and Sneed, who had stayed in the car, that he should rob the two men, because it would be easy.
The night of the murders, Redner and the victims exchanged calls just before 6 p.m. At 9:15 p.m,., Redner went to their house, intending to rob them. He stabbed Floyd on the side of the head with a machete-style weapon, then shot him, through a pillow and at close range, in the head, with the .380-caliber gun. He shot Kakowski in the head as well.
Back at his house in Palm Coast, Redner burned a set of clothes in the backyard, along with a cardboard ammunition box.
McCalligan described to investigators what happened at their house a little over two weeks after the murders. By then, police had publicized the murders and revealed that the murderer knew his victims. Redner knew he was being hunted, and wasn’t sure he’d covered his tracks well enough. McCalligan was watching TV with his girlfriend Erin Bracken in the living room when the couple heard a gunshot in Redner’s bedroom, which he shared with Sneed. And then, after a pause, more shots.
Redner then screamed at Sneed: “That gun has two bodies on it,” and added: “They are looking at me for a double homicide.” At least those were the words transcribed in his arrest report.
Sneed had fired the first shot during an argument, then Redner fired several more in a fit of rage. Sneed and Redner then dismantled the wall that had taken the brunt of the shots, to hide the bullet marks, though the dismantling would later only give investigators more evidence to stack against Rener, as they visited the house and secured a search warrant.
Bracken and McCalligan were scared out of their wits. Redner approached them with the gun, telling McCalligan that he could not speak of the incident. “If you think I’m threatening Justin,” Redner told Bracken, handing her a bullet casing, “then take this. This will put me away for life.”
That prediction, too, would come true.
Investigators first got a look at the house on Dec. 8, 2009, after they had spoken with McCalligan at the Flagler County jail. Sneed was at the house with her daughter at the time, allegedly alone. But she wasn’t alone. After investigators had followed her into the bedroom where the shooting rampage had taken place, and where Sneed had gone to retrieve a cigarette, investigators examined the wall and ceiling, finding bullet emplacements precisely where McCalligan said they’d be. After that, one of the investigators walked into a walk-in closet.
And there was Redner, hiding.
Eventually, shell casings would be discovered in the lot across the street, and the murder weapon would be fished out of the Intracoastal Waterway, below the Palm Harbor bridge in Palm Coast.
In 1999, Redner had been convicted of attempted robbery with a weapon. On Jan. 28, 2010, he was charged on the two counts of first degree murder and armed robbery, as well as possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. That last charge would be dropped. The others stuck.