Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco murder suspect withdraws plea in related burglary

NEW PORT RICHEY — The same night he shot and killed an 82-year-old World War II veteran during a robbery, authorities say, Francis Sicola broke into another house, looking for drugs and valuables. He left behind a black mask, later found to contain his DNA.

Sicola was charged with both 2008 crimes — the murder of Joseph Wido, and armed burglary of the other house. In April, he pleaded no contest to the burglary, against his attorney's advice and without a deal from prosecutors. The charge carried a potential life sentence.

On Friday, a judge allowed Sicola, 27, to withdraw that plea and set the case for trial later this month.

Prosecutors did not object. In addition to the mask, they say they have a videotaped confession in which Sicola admitted to the burglary.

In the same interview, Sicola denied killing Wido.

Authorities tell a different story. Wido and his wife were in bed in their Timber Oaks home early on Aug. 29, 2008, when a man appeared with a red bandanna over his face, investigators say. When Wido tried to stop the burglar, telling him "I can take you on," he was shot.

Wido's wife, Bobbe, was tied up and left on the floor next to her dying husband while the burglar ransacked the house. A neighbor rescued her the next morning after hearing her cries for help.

Months later, authorities arrested Sicola, who grew up in New Port Richey and was first arrested at age 11. The murder case, which also carries a possible life sentence, is pending.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at or (727) 869-6245.

Pasco murder suspect withdraws plea in related burglary 06/11/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 11, 2010 9:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh


    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.