Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man strikes plea deal in Brooksville armed robbery, murder case

BROOKSVILLE — One of three men charged in a home invasion and murder in Masaryktown last year has struck a deal with prosecutors.

Robert Willoughby pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder, home invasion robbery while armed, and armed burglary. The 25-year-old Brooksville resident had been charged with first-degree murder along with Nicholas James Trammell, 21, and Richard Denard Harris, 25.

Willoughby's murder charge was reduced and his sentence will be capped in exchange for cooperating with prosecutors, said Assistant State Attorney Pete Magrino.

"With the agreement of the victim's family and law enforcement, we came to this conclusion to strengthen the cases against the other two defendants," Magrino said.

Authorities say all three men entered 27-year-old Michael Pfeifer's home at 174 Grand Ave. about 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 16, 2011. Armed with an assault-style rifle, a shotgun and several handguns, they demanded money and drugs.

Pfeifer was shot in the knees trying to defend himself and died before emergency workers arrived. Another man in the house at the time, Cliff Kearney, suffered a blow to the head but survived and was able to give investigators a detailed account of what happened.

The evidence shows that Willoughby was in possession of a handgun but never fired it, and Trammell carried a 12-gauge shotgun and Harris an AK-47, Magrino said. Both the shotgun and rifle were fired twice, and rounds from both hit Pfeifer.

"(Willoughby) was in the bedroom trying to take a TV off the wall when the shootings occurred," Magrino said.

As part of the deal, Willoughby's total prison sentence will be at least 10 years and will not exceed 40 years.

If convicted by a jury, Willoughby faced a life sentence.

Trammell, of Spring Hill, has a status hearing set for next month.

Harris, of Brooksville, had a status hearing on Thursday. His next court date was unavailable Friday.

Reach Tony Marrero at or (352) 848-1431. On Twitter: @TMarreroTimes and @HernandoTimes.

Man strikes plea deal in Brooksville armed robbery, murder case 12/28/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 28, 2012 8:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17:  Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempts a pass during a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  2. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire



    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, relies on the help of her mother, Tranda Webb, 62, as she recovers from the burns covering her body..
  3. Florida starter under center still under wraps


    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.
  4. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  5. Rick Kriseman picks Floribbean restaurant for Manhattan Casino

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG— Mayor Rick Kriseman has chosen a controversial restaurant concept to occupy the Manhattan Casino, saying he made a decision 11 days before the mayoral primary because he didn't want politics to get in the way of progress in struggling Midtown.

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson speaks during a Friday press conference announcing that the Callaloo Group will open a Floribbean restraurant in the historic Manhattan Casino in St. Petersburg's Midtown neighborhood. Some residents were upset with Mayor Rick Kriseman's choice, saying it will speed up gentrification of the area. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]