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Kalisz indicted in shooting death of Dixie County deputy

BROOKSVILLE — A Dixie County grand jury indicted John Kalisz Tuesday in the killing of Dixie sheriff's Capt. Chad Reed in a shootout in Cross City after an earlier rampage in Hernando County that left two people dead, including Kalisz' sister.

The indictment charges Kalisz, a 55-year-old roofer, with one count of first-degree murder while armed in the Jan. 14 shooting of Reed.

State Attorney Robert "Skip" Jarvis said it took the grand jury about 10 minutes to decide to indict Kalisz.

"When you're a person in a small county like Dixie, people know these law enforcement officers," Jarvis said. "This is a loss that everyone took very hard."

Kalisz also faces two counts of first-degree murder in Hernando in the shootings of his sister, Kathryn "Kitty'' Donovan, 61, and her office manager, Deborah Tillotson, 59. He has also been indicted on two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the shootings of his niece, Manessa Donovan, 18, and Amy Wilson, 33, an employee at Donovan's home business on Wilhelm Road.

Additionally, the Hernando County grand jury charged Kalisz with burglary of a dwelling with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Deputies stopped Kalisz at a gas station in Cross City after he fled the crime scene in a rural neighborhood near Brooksville. Kalisz shot Reed once in the face after the sheriff's captain approached his van, reports say, and Reed died a short time later. Kalisz was shot numerous times but survived his wounds.

Prosecutor Pete Magrino, the chief homicide prosecutor in Hernando County, has said he intends to seek the death penalty.

Jarvis said he hadn't yet made a decision on the death penalty.

Prosecutors in both counties have said they are deciding where to prosecute Kalisz first. Jarvis said Dixie residents have been anxious to get Kalisz into a courtroom there first.

But any conviction in Hernando would bolster the case in Dixie, Jarvis said.

"It would make my case even stronger," he said. "But we've got a lot of hard feelings here in Dixie County. Some folks would like to see us go first."

Kalisz is recovering from gunshot wounds sustained during the incident. He was transferred from Shands at the University of Florida hospital in Gainesville to the Hillsborough County Jail after officials determined the medical facilities in that jail would better serve his needs.

Joel Anderson can be reached at or (352) 754-6120.

Kalisz indicted in shooting death of Dixie County deputy 02/16/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 7:00pm]
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