Thursday, July 19, 2018
News Roundup

Jury recommends life sentence for man convicted in 2010 death of Brooksville woman

BROOKSVILLE — A jury has recommended a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for a man it previously convicted for brutally killing an 80-year-old woman in her home in May 2010.

Byron Burch, 44, was found guilty in June of murdering Sarah Davis, a south Brooksville matriarch, and burglarizing her home while armed. The only options for sentencing were life in prison or the death penalty.

Davis, a teacher for more than three decades, had hired Burch to do some handy work around her house. The two were distantly related.

Law enforcement officials found Davis the next morning on her bathroom floor, her head beside her bathtub, lying in a pool of blood. Burch, a crack cocaine addict with a long criminal history, had stabbed and slashed her more than 25 times.

Jurors deliberated for about two hours this week before returning their recommendation of a life sentence. It had taken them about 14 hours over three days to convict Burch.

In his closing argument, Assistant State Attorney Pete Magrino urged the jury to recommend that Burch receive the death penalty, citing Burch's violent past. Burch was convicted of sexually battering his 9-year-old cousin when he was 16. Later, he was convicted of battery on a law enforcement officer, for which he was sentenced to four years in prison.

Magrino also asked the jury to consider the heinousness of the crime.

"The aggravating circumstances that apply with regard to this case are such that death is an appropriate recommendation for you all to make to his honor, Judge (Daniel B.) Merritt Jr.," Magrino said.

Burch's defense lawyer, Terry Lenamon, downplayed the significance of his client's violent past. Lenamon attributed Burch's behavior to a poor upbringing and unresolved mental health issues. Collectively, he said, the mitigating factors outweighed the aggravating factors necessary to sentence Burch to death

"When you start putting these all together and building these all up, what you see here is this mitigation that builds and builds and builds that has great value," Lenamon told the jury.

Burch's daughter was present during closing arguments, but Lenamon said she did not wish to comment.

The next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 20. Magrino asked Merritt for time to consider filing a motion requesting that he sentence Burch to death, despite the jury's recommendation. If Magrino does not file the motion, Burch could be sentenced at the hearing.

Contact Josh Solomon at (813) 226-3446 or [email protected] Follow @josh_solomon15.

Comments
Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome shoots 78 in PGA Tour debut

Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome shoots 78 in PGA Tour debut

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome survived her first round on the PGA Tour at the Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Ky., on Thursday, and she can't wait to do it again Friday.Though Lincicome shot 6-over 78 and will likely miss the cut — she ...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Longtime Tampa Catholic athletic director Nick DiMaggio dies

Longtime Tampa Catholic athletic director Nick DiMaggio dies

Nick DiMaggio, the longtime athletic director at Tampa Catholic who was a fixture at the school's sporting events for more than 50 years, died Wednesday (July 18, 2018) from complications related to a stroke. He was 86."Nick was an icon, a walking en...
Updated: 30 minutes ago
A Florida mayor is being asked to resign after citizens allege his chief of staff ‘preys’ on homeless black men

A Florida mayor is being asked to resign after citizens allege his chief of staff ‘preys’ on homeless black men

ST. PETERSBURG — At Thursday’s City Council meeting, seven residents called for the resignation of Mayor Rick Kriseman and Kevin King — one of his closest confidants — over allegations that King "preys" on homeless black men.Jesse Nevel, the vice pre...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Pete residents storm City Council with allegations against Kevin King

St. Pete residents storm City Council with allegations against Kevin King

ST. PETERSBURG — At Thursday’s City Council meeting, seven residents called for the resignation of Mayor Rick Kriseman and Kevin King — one of his closest confidants — over allegations that King "preys" on homeless black men.Jesse Nevel, the vice pre...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Chickens remain free to range in Ybor

Chickens remain free to range in Ybor

TAMPA — Ybor City chickens have escaped the political chopping block — again.The Tampa City Council on Thursday declined to do anything about a wild flock of poultry that drew a loud, strong throng of supporters to City Hall to ask council members no...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Activists camp out in protest at Tampa’s Homeland Security, ICE offices

Activists camp out in protest at Tampa’s Homeland Security, ICE offices

TAMPA — The national movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency came to Tampa on Thursday night — and it’s in tents.Approximately 25 local activists gathered next to Cypress Drive in front of the local Department of Homeland S...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Marc Topkin: Rays should trade Chris Archer

Marc Topkin: Rays should trade Chris Archer

ST. PETERSBURG — Chris Archer wants the Rays to get going.Trade more veterans. Bring back Willy Adames and bring up the next group of kids. Get on with getting better, and get back to reaching the postseason, as they did four times over six yea...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida State defensive forecast not that simple

Florida State defensive forecast not that simple

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — His debut at the ACC kickoff attracted a wholly unsurprising assortment of topics. New FSU coach Willie Taggart was asked about his culture, his quarterbacks, his catch phrases.He handled each question deftly, hardly devi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: Catcher needed with Wilson Ramos on DL

Rays journal: Catcher needed with Wilson Ramos on DL

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays did not have any answers Thursday about the state of their catching situation as to how long Wilson Ramos will be out and who will be added to replace him Friday against the Marlins.Ramos was placed on the DL Wednesday...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police: Pinellas infant on life support after father stuffs balled-up baby wipe down his throat

Police: Pinellas infant on life support after father stuffs balled-up baby wipe down his throat

TARPON SPRINGS — Cali’yah Anderson heard a scream Tuesday night and she thought someone was dying. "Help me! Help me! I can’t get it out!" Anderson sprinted into the living room at 1410 Starlight Cove two doors down from her own apartment and found a...
Updated: 2 hours ago