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Hernando jury convicts son in father's murder

BROOKSVILLE — Pete Magrino gripped the Revelation 12-gauge, sawed-off shotgun and pointed it at the courtroom wall, just feet from a jury of six and two alternates.

He pumped the slide on the shotgun, then pulled the trigger. Pump. Click. Pump. Click. Pump. Click.

"Ivan Horne was shot four times. I don't know how fast or slow the defendant cycled this shotgun when he murdered his father," Magrino told jurors Thursday, pointing at the 20-year-old man sitting at the defense table. "We're not talking one shot."

After a dramatic closing argument by the assistant state attorney, the jury took just one hour to find Stephen Horne guilty of first-degree murder in the May 2010 shooting of his father, Ivan Horne, 47. Authorities say the son was motivated by drugs and money.

Later, just after Chief Circuit Judge Daniel Merritt Sr. sentenced Horne, of Ridge Manor, to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the convicted killer turned to sobbing family members sitting two rows behind him, and he smiled.

Some told Horne they loved him. Others couldn't say anything. As deputies escorted him out, he glared at news reporters.

Horne was also convicted of robbery with a firearm and possession of a short-barreled shotgun. His accomplice, Angel Gonzalez, 28, of Holiday, was convicted last month of first-degree murder and was also sentenced to life in prison.

In court Thursday, Magrino read portions of a damning confession Horne had given to Hernando sheriff's Detective Bryan Faulkingham.

" 'I killed my father. I shot my father. I planned it all,' " Magrino read. " 'I hated my father. I seen dollar signs. I planned it out. Everything was all my idea. I was going to get away with it.' "

Two weeks before the shooting, Horne showed a friend the weapon he later used, Magrino said. The two discussed ammunition, and the man offered to give Horne a box of unused shells if he needed them.

The day before the shooting, Gonzalez and a female friend bought ammunition at a Walmart. Investigators later found the gun, the shells and the receipt buried in Horne's grandmother's yard in Ridge Manor.

Horne and Gonzalez picked up Ivan Horne in Tampa late on May 3, Magrino said. With Gonzalez driving, Ivan Horne sat in the passenger seat, and his son, holding the shotgun, rode in back.

At one point, Magrino said, the gun discharged. Horne told his father it was a firecracker.

Gonzalez drove to a vacant house in Ridge Manor. Once they were there, Horne pumped a round into his father's back, the prosecutor said. As the man lay dying, Horne shot him three more times.

The two men stole Ivan Horne's prescribed oxycodone pills and between $200 and $600, Magrino said. Then they stripped him of his boots, trousers and cell phone.

Horne's attorney, J. Edwin Mills of Orlando, primarily disputed two key elements of the state's case: records Magrino used to indicate that Horne's cell phone had been used the night of the shooting and the recorded confession his client gave investigators.

Mills argued that Horne's admission was coerced and asked that the jury ignore it.

"They had no intention of letting him go home, ever," Mills said of detectives who conducted the investigation. "They keep badgering him. They keep badgering him."

Magrino disagreed and even played a portion of the video.

In it, Horne matter-of-factly recounted to Faulkingham how he killed his father.

He described the first shot, then how Ivan Horne spun around and fell. How his father moaned as he bled on the ground. How he stood between the dying man's legs and fired three more shells straight down.

"The state has proven that defendant right there," Magrino said, pointing at Horne, "is a cold-blooded killer."

John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or jcox@sptimes.com.

Hernando jury convicts son in father's murder 09/15/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 15, 2011 8:41pm]
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