Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mistrial declared after Pasco murder defendant attempts suicide

Theodore Diller and his wife were in the midst of a divorce when he killed her, authorities say.

Theodore Diller and his wife were in the midst of a divorce when he killed her, authorities say.

NEW PORT RICHEY — A judge declared a mistrial in a first-degree murder case Thursday morning after the defendant attempted suicide at the Pasco County jail, officials said.

Theodore Diller, 70, who was accused of shooting his wife in 2012, was being escorted to the showers at the detention center in Land O'Lakes about 4:20 a.m. He sprinted away from guards, ran up a flight of stairs and sat on the railing, according to an incident report.

Jail deputies ordered him down, but he locked his legs and hanged upside down. Before guards could get to him, he let go and fell head first onto the concrete. Deputies scrambled to get medical attention for Diller, who lay in pools of blood.

No other inmate cell doors were open at the time, the Sheriff's Office said.

Later Thursday morning, in the courtroom where Diller's trial has been going on all week, Circuit Judge Mary Handsel said he was in critical condition with a brain hemorrhage and was not awake. He was being treated at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.

Diller's attorney, Catherine Garrett, who was pursuing an insanity defense, had asked for a mistrial. Handsel researched case law on the matter before granting the mistrial. She called the jail incident an obvious suicide attempt and not an accident.

Handsel sent home the jury, citing a medical emergency by the defendant.

The Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate.

Prosecutors said Diller killed Rhonda Diller, his wife of nearly 40 years, in 2012 at their home in Land O'Lakes. The two were in the midst of a divorce and prosecutors say Diller feared losing their lakefront home.

Mistrial declared after Pasco murder defendant attempts suicide 06/26/14 [Last modified: Thursday, June 26, 2014 9:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump awards Medal of Honor to Vietnam-era Army medic (w/video)

    Military

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday turned a Medal of Honor ceremony for a Vietnam-era Army medic who risked his life to help wounded comrades into a mini homework tutorial for the boy and girl who came to watch their grandfather be enshrined "into the history of our nation."

    WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23:  Retired U.S. Army Capt. Gary Rose (L) receives a standing ovation after being awarded the Medal of Honor by U.S. President Donald Trump during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House October 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Rose, 69, is being recognized for risking his life while serving as a medic with the 5th Special Force Group and the Military Assistance Command Studies and Observations Group during ‘Operation Tailwind’ in September 1970. Ignoring his own injuries, Rose helped treat 50 soldiers over four days when his unit joined local fighters to attack North Vietnamese forces in Laos - officially off limits for combat at the time.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) 775062921
  2. Long day of diplomacy: Tillerson visits Afghanistan, Iraq

    Military

    BAGHDAD — Far from the Washington murmurs about his future, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to two of America's enduring war zones Monday, prodding leaders in Afghanistan and Iraq to reach out to longtime rivals.

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, center, speaks Monday at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, accompanied by Gen. John Nicholson, left, and Special Charge d’Affaires Amb. Hugo Llorens.
  3. Head-on crash kills Wesley Chapel teacher and Zephyrhills man

    Accidents

    TAMPA — Two men, including a high school math teacher, were killed Monday in a head-on crash on Morris Bridge Road, deputies said.

    Shackelford
  4. Pinellas sees slight increase in black and first-year teachers

    Blogs

    A year after the Pinellas County school district was chastised in a state report for clustering inexperienced teachers in the state's most struggling schools, the district has reported a first look at its teacher corps.

    The Pinellas County school district has taken a first look at first-year teachers in struggling schools and minority hiring, both of which ticked slightly upward.
  5. Editorial: Trump owes apology to fallen soldier's Miami family

    Editorials

    There is no more sacred, solemn role for a president than to comfort grieving family members of soldiers who have given their lives in service of their country. Those calls cannot be easy, and some presidents are better at it than others. Yet President Donald Trump and his administration continue to engage in a …