Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Army major accused of murder can be released on $2.5 million bail

Roman Izzo is charged with killing his wife’s 
in Clear­water in 
late 2011.

Roman Izzo is charged with killing his wife’s ex-husband in Clear­water in late 2011.

LARGO — A judge ruled on Friday that an Army major accused of killing his wife's ex-husband can be released from the Pinellas County Jail on $2.5 million bail.

Roman Izzo, 36, faces a first-degree murder charge in the shooting and stabbing death of Vincent Lee, 43.

It's highly unusual locally for a first-degree murder defendant to get a chance to be released on bail. But Izzo's attorney, Steve Romine, successfully argued that prosecutors had not followed the steps necessary to keep Izzo behind bars without bail.

If he can make bail, Izzo would have to wear an ankle monitor and remain in Pinellas County. But those restrictions did little to soothe Chris Lee, the brother of Vincent Lee.

"We're all shocked, basically," Chris Lee said. "We feel like if he's going to get out he's going to run. We could all possibly be in danger."

Izzo is married to Vincent Lee's ex-wife, Jodi. She and Izzo wanted to move the two children she shared with Lee out of state, but a judge would not allow it. Izzo was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., at the time. Later, in November 2011, Lee was found dead in his Clearwater apartment, having been killed in particularly brutal fashion — shot five times, stabbed 10 times and his throat slit.

At a hearing in March, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Chris Helinger denied bail for Izzo, despite support from Army officers and family members who testified on his behalf. An Army lieutenant colonel even said Izzo could return to a Kansas Army garrison with pay if he was released on bail.

In that earlier hearing, Helinger said releasing Izzo would not be appropriate. She noted that he had "no ties whatsoever to Pinellas County," a key point when evaluating whether someone will actually return to court for prosecution. Also, though his attorney noted that Izzo had cooperated with authorities, Helinger said his attitude could change given that he could be "facing the death penalty." Prosecutors have not formally announced if they intend to seek Izzo's execution.

But more recently, Romine argued in motions and in court that there are only narrow circumstances in which someone can be held without bail, and that they did not apply to Izzo.

People accused of murder and a few other crimes can be held without bail when "proof is evident or the presumption is great" — an extremely high legal standard that means someone's guilt is virtually proved. An order from Helinger this week said "the state is unable to meet their burden" under that standard.

People also can be held without bail under what is known as "pretrial detention" if the state proves that certain conditions exist, such as when a suspect has intimidated witnesses. Helinger concluded that Izzo "does not satisfy any of the enumerated circumstances."

Izzo remained in the jail on Friday night.

Army major accused of murder can be released on $2.5 million bail 07/11/14 [Last modified: Friday, July 11, 2014 10:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Here's what happened when 30 high school sophomores gave up their phones for a day


    LUTZ — They were everywhere at Steinbrenner High School. Teens with panic-stricken faces, furiously slapping one thigh, then the other.

    Grace Hayes, 15, left, and Kai'Rey Lewis, 15, talk and text friends after having a discussion about smartphone technology in Tiffany Southwell's English Literature class at Steinbrenner High last week. Southwell asked theme to give up their phones for a day and write about it. For Lewis, the ride home that day "was the longest bus ride in my life." [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  2. Cuban media treats visit by Tampa City Council as historic event


    TAMPA — Delegations of one kind or another have been traveling from Tampa to Cuba for years, even before President Barack Obama took steps to normalize relations between the two countries in December 2014.

    A Tampa delegation to Cuba this week was featured prominently in reports by the state-run media in Cuba, including Granma. From left are Tampa City Council vice chair Harry Cohen, St. Petersburg City Council Chair Darden Rice, Tampa philanthropist David Straz and Tampa City Council Chair Yolie Capin.
  3. As the curtain rises on the Straz Center's biggest shows, the spotlight is on parking


    TAMPA — The Broadway Series, the most lucrative shows of the year for the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, start this week, and this year the center wants all the drama to take place on stage, not during the drive to the theater.

    With downtown Tampa getting busier at night and on weekends, city officials and administrators from the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts have been working on ways to unsnarl traffic and help visitors find parking when there are lots of events at the same time. CHRIS ZUPPA   |   Times (2009)

  4. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 
Casimar Naiboa pleads for help to capture the killer of his son, Anthony Naiboa. Naiboa, 20, was shot and killed near 15th Street N. and E. Frierson Avenue after getting off the wrong bus in Seminole Heights. A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  5. PolitiFact Florida: Rubio has a point about the child tax credit

    State Roundup

    The Trump administration and Senate and House leaders have revealed a framework for tax legislation that proposes tax cuts for business, a reduction in tax brackets, and the elimination of several tax breaks.

    Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, and other members of the committee arrive on Capitol Hill in August. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)