A Florida Supreme Court ruling has cleared the way for a retrial of a former executive at Jabil Circuit, Inc. who is accused of murdering his wife and her friend.
Patrick Albert Evans of Saint Petersburg Beach was a vice president at Jabil in 2008, and married to Elizabeth, a sales director for the firm. She filed for divorce from Patrick that year and moved to a separate residence. Authorities say that he confronted Elizabeth and coworker Jerry B. Taylor at her condo after the pair had gone on a date, firing upon and killing both.
Evans first stood trial in 2011, where he was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, picking up a death sentence from a circuit-court judge the following year. However, the Florida Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2015, citing errors in a detective’s testimony and criticizing remarks made at trial by the prosecutor.
In October Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone ruled that the trial could go forward on the condition that jurors were informed that, upon conviction of murder, only a unanimous jury could send him to the death chamber. Evans’ public defenders disagreed with the ruling and filed an emergency petition to the Florida Supreme Court to prevent the order from being carried out due to vagaries in the law regarding the death penalty in Florida.
The Florida Supreme Court ruled on the matter last Monday, siding with the lower court on the grounds that the existing law can still be validly applied as long as the jury finds death to be the appropriate penalty.
Evans is being held without bond at present in the Pinellas County Jail on two counts of first-degree murder.
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