Alan Osterhoudt Jr. called 911 last week and told the emergency dispatcher in Hernando County that he had shot his wife during an argument and that she was dead. Sheriff’s deputies responded to the couple’s home in Spring Hill where Osterhoudt was waiting outside.
Inside the home, deputies found Maria Osterhoudt dead in the bathroom with a gunshot wound to the head. Maria Osterhoudt was a St. Petersburg College professor who was ready to retire.
Alan Osterhoudt was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. He has no previous criminal history and deputies indicated that they had no previous domestic violence calls to the couple’s address.
Maria Osterhoudt was a full-time faculty member in the college of computer and information technology at the Tarpon Springs campus of St. Petersburg College. She instructed several Web design and computer application courses this semester, in both on-campus and online classes.
A person is guilty of second-degree murder in Florida if he kills someone “by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual”. A conviction carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
A “premeditated design to kill” means that there was a conscious decision to kill. The decision must be present in the accused’s mind at the time the act was committed but doesn’t necessarily require a long thought-process or planning period.
In this case, it appears that prosecutors did not believe there was evidence of such premeditation and chose to forego the first-degree murder charge.