In a trio of decisions today, the Fifth District Court of Appeal let stand convictions of Sean Whitt, who is serving a life term for raping an 11 year old, and Michael Stavris, who is serving 15 years on charges of felony child abuse, stalking and impersonating a child.
She was eligible for a new trial. But facing daunting evidence against her, Dorothy Singer, formerly of west Flagler, pleaded to second-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband Charles in 2017.
The trial judge admonished the families of both Brandi Celenza and Keith Johansen after a hearing where he’d ruled on admitting or limiting variously disturbing evidence-and prohibiting prejudicial courtroom antics in the gallery.
Tonda Royal was 52 when a 16-year-old Mondex girl accused him of raping her. He claimed the only way his DNA was in her is because another woman took his used condom and handed it to her to implicate him.
Tonda Royal, 53, is on trial this week on an accusation of unlawful sex with a 16-year-old girl in the Mondex. Despite uncontested DNA evidence, the defense claims the girl is lying and was part of a plot to damage Royal’s reputation.
Though David Snelgrove was finally sentenced to life in prison rather than death this week, his trial shows how the 20-year ordeal in court could have been avoided with the same result two decades ago, had capital punishment not been on the table.
Lawyers and the judge in the re-sentencing case of convicted murderer Cornelius Baker focused on a lengthy questionnaire about the death penalty the defense planned to submit to potential jurors. The judge ordered the questionnaire significantly shortened.
The seven-day re-trial over the penalty for the 2000 murders in Palm Coast’s B-Section was necessary because two previous verdicts were ruled unconstitutional. Today’s verdict means that years, maybe decades, of further proceedings will not be necessary.
David Snelgrove’s double-murder of Glyn and Vivian Fowler in Palm Coast 20 years ago comes down, in this third sentencing trial in two decades, to a jury willing to believe he was a calculated killer as opposed to a crack-addicted mentally impaired man who snapped.
Victor Williams was defiant to the end at his sentencing, while the victim’s 50-minute testimony described Williams as a “monster” who caused the victim’s life to spiral into depression, drugs, suicidal thoughts and self-loathing.