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Clearwater man who shot at motorists sentenced to 40 years in prison

Todd Naylor, 36, was convicted in March of aggravated assault and  firing at a vehicle.

Todd Naylor, 36, was convicted in March of aggravated assault and firing at a vehicle.

LARGO — Patricia Naylor approached the stand Friday morning with a black photo album.

"I want to show you pictures of my son when he was normal," she told Judge Philip J. Federico, choking back tears. "He was engaged. He learned to fly a helicopter."

Todd Christopher Naylor, 36, was convicted in March of two counts of aggravated assault and one count of firing at a vehicle.

At his sentencing Friday, assistant state attorneys briefly reviewed the details of his 2009 arrest: Naylor was riding through Oldsmar in a red Ford F-150, aiming a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun at motorists. He shot out tires and peppered one car with bullets, seemingly at random.

The driver of the pickup, Jason Strauss, received a 10-year prison sentence.

Before Federico decided Naylor's fate Friday, his mother described a troubled boy with a good heart, led astray by drugs and alcohol and a now-incarcerated father.

"He had a lot put on him at a young age," she said, weeping. "And yes, he's mentally ill. He needs help. Look at him now! His hair has fallen out. His skin is all blotchy."

Assistant State Attorney Scott Rosenwasser said he understands her heartbreak, but Naylor's criminal actions weren't limited to one road-rage rampage.

Police said he ran a worldwide aircraft parts scam and stole thousands of dollars from would-be customers in Florida, Indiana, the United Kingdom and South Africa. Naylor has been charged with seven counts of grand theft and a count of scheme to defraud. Those charges will be addressed separately in court on June 26.

In 2001, Naylor and his father, Richard Patrick Naylor, were charged in connection with a similar, $5.5 million scheme to sell refurbished helicopters, which were either defective or never shipped.

Richard Naylor, who investigators say torched his inventory to cover his tracks, is incarcerated at the River Junction Work Camp in Chattahoochee, scheduled for release in 2018. His son's charges were dropped — but Todd Naylor landed back in jail the same year after police said he stole a 39-foot Sea Ray boat for a joy ride.

"To say he buckled under the pressure of one occasion," Rosenwasser said Friday, "is contradictory to his ongoing pattern of conduct."

Naylor, who sat expressionless through the testimony, addressed the judge last. He spoke slowly and deliberately, as though he had been rehearsing a speech in his single cell, empty except for the radio his mother bought him.

"I'd like to speak to the victims in this case," he said. "I realize that I terrified you that night — and this not only affected you that night, but your everyday lives as well. For this I am sincerely sorry."

He said he wanted to get help and raise his young daughter, Autumn, whose mother died years ago.

"I appreciate your apology and think it's heartfelt," Federico responded. "But you can't un-ring the bell once you hear the facts and circumstances."

The judge sentenced Naylor to 40 years in prison with no possibility of early release. He has 30 days to appeal.

"Middle of the night in Oldsmar, I have someone pulling up to people with a shotgun and trying to blow them off the road," Federico said. "Those were people doing absolutely nothing wrong. I can't even talk about how outrageous and unacceptable that behavior is."

Staff writer Drew Harwell contributed to this report. Danielle Paquette can be reached at dpaquette@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4224.

Clearwater man who shot at motorists sentenced to 40 years in prison 05/31/13 [Last modified: Friday, May 31, 2013 10:12pm]

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