BROOKSVILLE — A grand jury has indicted Brett Hattenbrun on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of his daughter-in-law, Joey Hattenbrun.
Sometime about 10:30 the night of Sept. 16, authorities say, Brett Hattenbrun walked from his home to his son's house, just about 100 yards down Owl Road, near Weeki Wachee. He intended to confront Joey Hattenbrun about marital problems she was having with his son, Chad, investigators say, but the meeting turned horribly violent.
Hattenbrun is accused of bludgeoning the 30-year-old as she stood in her driveway, just feet from the stairs leading to her front door. To make it look like a mugging gone awry, investigators say, Hattenbrun stole several items from her. The grand jury on Monday also indicted him on a charge of robbery with a deadly weapon.
Her husband came home an hour after the beating and found her bleeding on the driveway. Joey Hattenbrun, the mother of a 3-year-old boy, was flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, where she died.
Detectives identified Hattenbrun within days as a prime suspect in the killing, Sheriff Al Nienhuis said, and gathered enough evidence to search his home. On the morning of Sept. 27, five deputies approached the small, secluded house and asked him to come outside. Hattenbrun, Nienhuis said, told them he was changing clothes and would be out soon.
Seconds later, he swung the door open and tossed a flaming Molotov cocktail at deputies, creating a massive fireball. He then began firing a nail gun at them while using the door as a shield.
He also has been charged with five counts of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and three counts of throwing or possessing a destructive device with the intent to harm a person.