The first of four men charged in the murder of a wheelchair-bound octogenarian was sentenced to life in prison late last week, with the jury deliberating slightly more than an hour on the case.
Allegedly acting upon information he received from his half-sister through an intermediary, Gaetano Keiran Spera set in motion a plan to recruit three confederates to carry out a home-invasion heist of a dwelling in a mobile home park near U.S. 19 North and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard.
Per investigators, Bianca J. Spera informed an unnamed individual over a monitored prison telephone of a safe containing what she believed was $50,000 in cash in the possession of 82-year-old Allen Usher. The prosecution offered several recordings of Bianca explaining the details of Usher’s life to the individual, including the fact that he was confined to a wheelchair due to a stroke.
With a mix of accurate and false information in hand, Gaetano allegedly recruited three individuals to carry out the burglary – Excel Lawson, Alex Trevone Richardson, both of Brooksville, and Jonathan Nelson, a transient living in Clearwater. The quartet carried out their plan on January 9, 2015 say prosecutors, dispatching Usher with a single bullet to the head.
However, the four men soon found that their information regarding the contents of the safe was bad, as it contained only personal papers and medications. Gaetano Spera was tracked down two months later, lasting a month longer on the lam than Richardson and Lawson. Nelson was apprehended in February this year.
Despite attempting to raise doubt regarding certain untested physical evidence and questioning Richardson’s testimony, the jury wasted little time finding the 19-year-old Spera guilty of first-degree murder and ordering him remanded to the state’s custody for the remainder of his days. He joins his 30-year-old half-sister Bianca, who pled guilty to to solicitation to commit armed burglary earlier in the week, garnering a decade in prison as a result.
The 19-year-old New Jersey native Lawson, the 27-year-old Richardson, and the 21-year-old Nelson all remain in the Pinellas County Jail awaiting their own trials.