A Tampa man will finally face trial over five years after the offense for which he’s facing charges took place.
The 40-year-old man is accused of the murder of a 9-year-old girl from Temple Terrace who went missing in mid-May of 2014. Per prosecutors, the girl left her home with a friend who took her to her own home where she met the defendant. The girl’s friend says she left the pair and came back an hour later to find the girl gone and the defendant shirtless and sweating, claiming the girl had simply run away.
The ensuing three-month, multi-agency investigation began with the discovery of the girl’s body the next day. Already in jail awaiting trial for sex crime charges unrelated to the murder, the investigation centered around the soon-to-be defendant from the outset.
Though he was charged with the murder at the end of that investigation, putting him on trial for it has been a difficult journey. Initially prosecutors planned to seek the death penalty against him when proceedings began in 2015. However, a Supreme Court decision the following year and the resultant confusion over Florida’s capital punishment regime threw the process into confusion for the following two years.
Last week the trial judge assigned to the case set jury selection for early September, reluctantly moving it back from a date next month. Attorneys for both sides must filter through a jury pool of 150 to find nine jurors for the trial, which is expected to last for three weeks and consist of up to 60 witnesses.
The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been representing people charged with capital murder, felony drug charges, drunk driving, government fraud, and white-collar crimes for over a quarter century. Contact our office today to discuss your Tampa Bay-area state or federal charges.