Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Spring Hill man charged with murder gets more time to contemplate plea offer

BROOKSVILLE — A Spring Hill man accused of killing his brother and burying him in the yard has a couple more days to think about a plea offer before he goes to trial on a charge of first-degree murder.

Stanley Eckard appeared on Wednesday for what was supposed to be his last status hearing before the start of his trial on Monday. Chief Assistant Public Defender Alan Fanter asked Circuit Judge Anthony Tatti to set another hearing on Friday morning.

Fanter and chief homicide prosecutor Pete Magrino have declined to comment about the case or any pending plea negotiations. Eckard's parents, Samuel and Donna Eckard, told the Times this week that prosecutors have offered to cap Eckard's prison sentence at 20 years if he pleads guilty to second-degree murder.

A first-degree murder conviction comes with a mandatory life prison term, but Eckard could also be sentenced to life if a jury finds him guilty of second-degree murder.

Prosecutors say Stanley Eckard planned to kill Sean Eckard when he broke into his 19-year-old brother's locked bedroom early on the morning of June 19, 2010.

According to court documents, Eckard said he wrapped an elastic cord around Sean's neck but didn't mean to kill him. Eckard said they fell to the floor and he heard Sean's neck pop and felt his body go limp.

He admitted that, instead of calling for help, he hoisted his brother out the window and buried him in a shallow grave in the side yard of the Spring Hill home the men shared with their parents. Samuel Eckard found Sean's body two days later.

The Eckards told the Times they are convinced their son is telling the truth and have criticized prosecutors for pursuing a murder charge.

Friday may be Eckard's last chance to make a plea. It's unclear if Tatti would allow him to change his mind as late as Monday, when jury selection is scheduled to begin.

Monday is also Eckard's 24th birthday.

Reach Tony Marrero at tmarrero@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1431.

Spring Hill man charged with murder gets more time to contemplate plea offer 04/03/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 7:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics

    Elections

    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.