Wednesday, June 20, 2018
News Roundup

Jurors hear Hernando murder suspect's interviews with detectives

BROOKSVILLE — As an ambulance siren wailed, Brett Hattenbrun made the first in a series of denials about his role in his daughter-in-law's death, as recorded by deputies.

It was Sept. 27, 2011, and Hattenbrun had just tossed a Molotov cocktail at the feet of a Hernando County sheriff's sergeant who had come to search his home on Owl Road near Weeki Wachee. When Hattenbrun opened fire with a nail gun, deputies returned fire and shot him in the abdomen.

Now he was being taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. Riding along in the back of the ambulance, Detective George Loydgren told Hattenbrun he was a suspect in Joey Hattenbrun's murder.

"Call it temporary insanity or whatever, but the poor decision you just made is exactly what I think happened with you and Joey that night," Loydgren said.

His voice calm, Hattenbrun said: "I could never do that to a person."

The exchange happened in the first 20 minutes of more than 11 hours of recorded interviews detectives conducted with Hattenbrun, now 63, after his arrest. On Thursday, the third day of his first-degree murder trial, prosecutors started playing the audio recordings.

Jurors will probably hear the last hour or so of the recordings today. At that point, prosecutors say, Hattenbrun confessed to murdering the wife of his son, Chad. He said he went to the couple's house, also on Owl Road, on the night of Sept. 16, 2011, waited for Joey to arrive home from work and confronted her about her marital problems. When she grabbed her cellphone to call police, Hattenbrun said, he beat her with a metal pipe "until she stopped screaming." He said he put on yellow dish gloves, removed her wedding ring and scattered the contents of her purse to make the attack look like a robbery. Joey Hattenbrun, 30, died at St. Joseph's that night.

Assistant Public Defender Alan Fanter told jurors this week that detectives cajoled Hatten­brun into giving a false confession and that the physical evidence doesn't support that story.

As for the firebomb and the nail gun, Fanter told jurors that Hattenbrun wanted to provoke the officers into killing him but did not intend to harm them. Hattenbrun is also being tried on two counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.

A Florida Department of Law Enforcement forensic analyst testified Thursday that none of the blood evidence collected from Hattenbrun's home, including spots on a shirt, could be linked to Joey Hattenbrun. Investigators never found the gloves and the pipe Hattenbrun said he used. A sheriff's forensics technician went to a Winn-Dixie and bought dish gloves with bumps on the fingertips that appeared to match a pattern in bloodstains found on Joey Hattenbrun's coat. With the jury out of the courtroom Thursday, Fanter failed to convince Circuit Judge Daniel B. Merritt Jr. that the state shouldn't be allowed to submit evidence bought at a store.

Hattenbrun faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted of the murder or attempted murder charges.

 
Comments
Developer proposes Sprouts Farmers Market for Land O’Lakes

Developer proposes Sprouts Farmers Market for Land O’Lakes

LAND O’LAKES – A Sarasota developer is proposing to turn a vacant Winn-Dixie store in central Pasco into a Sprouts Farmers Market or similar specialty grocer.Benderson Development filed preliminary plans Monday with Pasco County to redevelop the form...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Column: I survived a suicide attempt and here’s what you should know

Column: I survived a suicide attempt and here’s what you should know

Twenty-five years ago, I was a reporter at WTSP-TV, out in the field covering Tampa Bay’s Independence Day celebrations. I expected an easy assignment talking about families and fireworks. Then the newsroom called with an urgent message: I needed to ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox Sr. was watching the NFL draft 24 years ago when the phone rang. Buffalo coach Marv Levy was on the other line."Marv said they were taking me," said Knox Sr., a standout receiver at FSU.Soon after, Knox Sr. saw his name scroll across ESPN'...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lawsuit against St. Pete alleges racial motivation in water official’s departure

Lawsuit against St. Pete alleges racial motivation in water official’s departure

ST. PETERSBURG — A former top ranking official in the city’s Water Resources Department is suing the city over his departure, claiming it was racially motivated.Dwight Wilson, the department’s former assistant director, says in the June 12 lawsuit th...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Pete police investigating social media threat against Pride event

St. Pete police investigating social media threat against Pride event

ST. PETERSBURG — Police are investigating a threat against St. Pete Pride weekend based on a social media comment left on a Tampa Bay Times story.A Facebook commenter used an alias to post the threat on a story about a pop-up gay club planned for the...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 1 hour ago
Tough questions are mere child’s play for Kevin Knox

Tough questions are mere child’s play for Kevin Knox

Growing up, Kevin Knox II watched videos or listened to motivational tapes during car rides to and from school so he could learn how to expand upon answers in interviews.That was all by design.His father, Kevin Knox Sr., knew about the spotlight as a...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 1 hour ago