BROOKSVILLE — A Hernando County grand jury indicted a 33-year-old Brooksville man Tuesday for the grisly slaying of Patrick and Evelyn DePalma.
Robert Jardin is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, armed robbery, armed burglary and grand theft in the elderly couple's 2006 deaths at their home in rural Masaryktown.
But a distant relative of the couple, David Alexander Bostick, 18, of Tampa, who was arrested in the deaths in April, will not face first-degree murder charges at this time, said Assistant State Attorney Pete Magrino.
"There is currently insufficient evidence to warrant the presentation of (his) case to a grand jury," he said.
Magrino said Bostick, who is great-great-nephew of the DePalmas, is still under investigation but he could not provide further details. A Hernando County Sheriff's Office spokesman refused to comment.
The indictment reveals a significant twist in the high-profile DePalma investigation.
The arrest of the two men earlier this year represented a triumph for the Sheriff's Office and brought calm to a community haunted for nearly two years by the unresolved murders.
With much hype, Bostick was arrested April 11 after tips to the Sheriff's Office led investigators to believe they had probable cause to arrest him for murder, authorities said at the time.
According to the police report, Bostick agreed to join two male friends in running some errands the night of Oct. 28, 2006. They ended up at the DePalmas' home, and were let inside.
Bostick told authorities he left to retrieve a phone from the car and when he returned, the DePalmas were dead, stabbed numerous times, and one of the two other men was yelling at the other about his temper. Bostick told detectives he noticed one of the two had been carrying a large fixed-blade knife in a sheath. The other two began ransacking the house and Bostick eventually joined them, investigators said.
Available reports don't indicate Bostick was ever involved in the murder. It's unclear whether he is still in custody because Hernando County jail officials said he was transferred to the Department of Juvenile Justice. A spokesman for the agency could not discuss his whereabouts.
Exactly three months after Bostick's arrest, Jardin was arrested for two counts of murder and one count of burglary. He initially denied knowing the DePalmas but detectives later searched his residence and truck, finding several items stolen from the DePalmas' home, including the couple's car keys.
Jardin later conceded he was at the home that night and saw them lying dead in the hallway, yet he made no comments about his involvement in their deaths, according to public reports.
The Sheriff's Office will not confirm whether there is truly a third suspect in the murders.
Magrino said he cannot disclose the evidence he presented the secretive panel of 15 to 21 grand jurors during the all-day hearing occurred just after 4 p.m. It takes at least 12 jurors to reach an affirmative indictment, which is necessary for first-degree murder charges in Florida. This jury reached its decision just after 4 p.m.
The first-degree murder charges against Jardin bring the possibility of the death penalty. Magrino said he hasn't decided whether to ask for it.
Jardin, who is being held at the county jail in lieu of bail, is slated to appear in court Aug. 12.
John Frank can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 754-6114.