A Miami man accused of killing a Florida State University professor in exchange for payment was convicted of first-degree murder last week, but a jury subsequently chose to forgo sentencing him to death.
The 37-year-old defendant was charged by prosecutors as being the trigger man in the death-for-hire plot that was allegedly carried out five years ago. According to authorities, the defendant agreed to murder the FSU professor for $100,000 in cash and gifts, which were to be split among the defendant, his 34-year-old girlfriend, and his longtime friend and alleged head of North Miami’s Latin Kings.
Prosecutors say the conspiracy began as the result of a bitter divorce and custody battle between the professor and his ex-wife. She allegedly hired the defendant to kill him in order to allow her to relocate her son and herself to South Florida.
The defendant’s girlfriend was also tried on charges relating to the murder during the same trial. She testified that she had no knowledge of the conspiracy in question, but she later said under oath that her former boyfriend financed the entire plot. The jury ultimately could not come to a unanimous decision as to her charges and the judge declared a mistrial.
The friend who was allegedly to receive one-third of the proceeds from the murder is currently in federal prison serving a sentence for racketeering.
In the penalty phase of the trial, the jury deliberated for only 30 minutes before reporting to the judge that they did not want to see the defendant executed for his crimes. Upon receiving this recommendation, the presiding judge sentenced the defendant to life in prison.
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.