NEW PORT RICHEY — The sentencing of John Sexton, who could face the death penalty for beating to death a 94-year-old woman, has been postponed.
Sexton, 49, was convicted Friday of first-degree murder for the 2010 death of Ann Parlato in her Port Richey home. The trial was slated to head into a sentencing phase today, when both sides could call additional witnesses and jurors would decide whether to recommend the death penalty. But a family member of Stephen Fisher, one of Sexton's attorneys, was involved in an accident, and he would be unavailable for today's proceedings. Assistant Regional Counsel Byron Hileman said Fisher was important to this phase of the case, and Sexton said he'd feel "insecure about the case" without Fisher there.
Circuit Judge Mary Handsel said because of the high-profile nature of the case, she wanted to proceed with an abundance of caution. She granted the defense's request for a continuance and set the sentencing for May 6.