NEW PORT RICHEY — Phillup Alan Partin is on trial this week for murder. He faces the death penalty if convicted of killing 16-year-old Joshan Ashbrook.
But he's still found time to write letters and ask for a job — as a Pasco sheriff's deputy.
From the jail cell where he is being held without bond, Partin penned a mocking letter to Pasco Sheriff Bob White asking for a job as an armed, uniformed deputy with a patrol cruiser.
Partin also mocked one of the deputies who pursued him in 2002 for the teenager's death and will testify against him this week: Scott Gattuso.
Gattuso was the subject of a Times report in December that detailed his troubled personnel record and long history of disciplinary problems in his two decades with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
"Never mind my past criminal history," Partin wrote to the sheriff, "as you have already shown that you are an Equal Opportunity Employer by hiring others with a history of employment problems ..."
Sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin's response:
"If he feels he's qualified, he's encouraged to apply," Tobin said. "He won't be treated any differently than any other applicant."
Gattuso has been investigated 30 times for accusations that he violated agency policy. Thirteen of the allegations were substantiated, including charges of discourtesy, insubordination and conduct unbecoming.
During a forgery investigation, the sheriff suspended Gattuso for more than a year — with pay. Gattuso collected almost $48,000 before pleading no contest to the charge and being demoted.
Partin accused the sheriff of being a " 'good ol' boy' just looking out for one of your own."
But Partin said he's a "good ol' boy" too.
"I am seeking employment with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office so that I too can be issued a .40 cal(iber) Glock and a badge," Partin wrote, "while I drive around in a sheriff's patrol car ... being paid $27.00 plus ... an hour to do this!"
Unfortunately for him, the Sheriff's Office does not employ anyone with a felony record. That would include the second-degree murder conviction that Partin served 17 years for in South Florida.
Partin mailed letters to the sheriff, the judge in his trial and the St. Petersburg Times. The letter to the Times was postmarked Monday, when the jury was picked in Partin's capital murder case.
"He has to deal with that before he ever becomes a deputy sheriff," Tobin said.
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The state continued its case Wednesday against Partin, calling one of its youngest witnesses to the stand: Patrisha Windham, the defendant's 12-year-old daughter.
She was 7 when she saw Partin and Ashbrook together the day before the 16-year-old was found dead on Aug. 1, 2002. Days later, with deputies on his trail, Partin abandoned his daughter at the Wachula home of an ex-foster mother, Jean Prestridge.
"He said he loved me," his daughter testified, "and that whenever he gets the chance, he was going to come back and see me again."
"Did he come back and see you again?" asked prosecutor Mike Halkitis.
"No sir," the girl said.
The state will continue its case today.
Jamal Thalji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6236.