Thursday, April 19, 2018
News Roundup

Jury hears lengthy interviews of defendant in Hernando murder trial

BROOKSVILLE — It took more than 11 hours of interviews with detectives before Brett Hattenbrun confessed to killing his daughter-in-law. A Hernando County jury spent most of Friday listening to the audio recordings of those interviews, but won't hear the confession until Hattenbrun's first-degree murder trial resumes Monday.

"I swear to God I didn't kill her," Hattenbrun tells Hernando sheriff's Sgt. Phil Lakin at one point. "I'm Catholic. I wouldn't lie to you, Phil."

Prosecutors say Hattenbrun, 63, eventually says he went to Chad and Joey Lynn Hattenbrun's home on Owl Road near Weeki Wachee — about a block away from his own house — on the night of Sept. 16, 2011, and waited for Joey to get home from work so he could confront her about marital problems the couple was having. When she tried to call police and started screaming, Hattenbrun says, he beat the 30-year-old mother with a metal pipe. She died that night at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa.

Eleven days later, Lakin and four co-workers arrived at Brett Hattenbrun's home with a search warrant. Hattenbrun threw a Molotov cocktail out the front door, almost igniting Lakin, and opened fire with a nail gun. A detective with Lakin shot Hattenbrun in the abdomen.

Lying in a hospital bed at St. Joseph's, Hattenbrun told Lakin and two other detectives that he wanted to provoke Lakin into killing him, but steadfastly denied killing his daughter-in-law.

Just before Lakin was about to leave, Hattenbrun changed his story.

Assistant Public Defender Alan Fanter told jurors this week that detectives pushed and prodded Hattenbrun until he told them what they wanted to hear, but that physical evidence doesn't support his account.

Hattenbrun is also being tried on multiple counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, among other crimes. He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted on the murder or attempted murder charges.

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