Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

In new trial, jury convicts Hernando man for murder of father

Stephen Horne listens to closing arguments Wednesday. 

Stephen Horne listens to closing arguments Wednesday. 

BROOKSVILLE — His eyes locked on the six jurors before him, Assistant State Attorney Pete Magrino held up two photos and made a somber comparison Wednesday in Hernando Circuit Judge Stephen E. Toner's courtroom.

"Ivan Horne in life," Magrino remarked, holding up the first photo. "Ivan Horne in death," he said, as he showed the second picture, taken the morning of May, 4, 2010, when authorities discovered Horne's body in a yard in Ridge Manor, in eastern Hernando County.

Before them, Magrino told the jurors, sat the man responsible for shooting and killing 47-year-old Ivan Horne: Stephen Horne, 23, of Ridge Manor, who was being retried in the murder and armed robbery of his father.

It took the six-member panel about 2 ½ hours to find the defendant guilty of first-degree murder, armed robbery and possession of a short-barreled shotgun. He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 21.

Magrino's task of again proving Stephen Horne's guilt came by way of a ruling by the 5th District Court of Appeal, which reversed the first conviction after finding that Hernando Circuit Judge Daniel B. Merritt Sr., who presided over the initial trial, failed to suppress Horne's confession after Horne told detectives at one point during an interview that he was "done talking."

Forced to forgo using a video of the confession, which served as the foundation of the state's first case, Magrino relied on witness testimony and crucial evidence that proved Horne had the motive, the means and the opportunity to commit the murder, using a sawed-off shotgun to shoot Ivan Horne once in the back and twice in the front before robbing him of a stash of oxycodone pills and about $640 in cash.

Magrino implored the jury to use "good old common sense" as he tied evidence and witness testimony to the defendant, including one of Horne's fingerprints found on an ammunition box, three witnesses who saw the defendant in possession of the 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun used in the murder and a trail of cellphone signals that linked the defendant and the victim to the journey to Hernando County that began when Stephen Horne and an accomplice picked up Ivan Horne from his home in Tampa.

Although Magrino alluded to the possibility of calling to the stand Horne's co-conspirator, Angel Gonzalez, who is serving a life sentence for his role in the killing, he never did.

Likewise, Horne never took the stand in his own defense.

Instead, his attorney, J. Edwin Mills, emphatically dismissed Magrino's assertions as "paper thin," telling jurors, "There is no evidence that Stephen Horne killed his father."

After the reading of the verdict, Horne turned and shook his head silently as members of his family hugged and cried.

Contact Logan Neill at or (352) 848-1435.

In new trial, jury convicts Hernando man for murder of father 07/30/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 9:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return


    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  2. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits


    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.

  3. Assault charge may not sway voters in Montana election (w/video)


    BOZEMAN, Mont. — Republican multimillionaire Greg Gianforte won Montana's only U.S. House seat on Thursday despite being charged a day earlier with assault after witnesses said he grabbed a reporter by the neck and threw him to the ground.

    People fill out ballots for the special election to fill Montana's only U.S. House seat at the Montana Pavilion at MetraPark on Thursday in Billings, Mont. [Associated Press]
  4. Quiet college dropout turned bomber: Who was Salman Abedi?


    LONDON — He was quiet and withdrawn, a college dropout who liked soccer — and, some say, showed alarming signs of being radicalized years before he walked into a pop concert at Britain's Manchester Arena and detonated a powerful bomb, killing himself and 22 others.

    Salman Abedi was identified by British authorities as the man behind Monday’s attack.
  5. Soldiers launch attacks in besieged Philippine city


    MARAWI, Philippines — Backed by tanks and rocket-firing helicopters, Philippine troops launched "precision attacks" Thursday to clear extremists linked to the Islamic State group from a city that has been under siege since a raid that failed to capture one of Asia's most-wanted militants.

    Soldiers fire at enemy positions Thursday while trying to clear the city of Marawi, Philippines, of armed militants.