BROOKSVILLE — At 17, Jesse Robert Daily was still a juvenile, technically, when authorities say he plunged a knife into the chest of his mother's boyfriend earlier this month.
In the eyes of prosecutors, Daily was already a man.
The State Attorney's Office has decided to charge Daily as an adult with second-degree murder. He was just nine days shy of his 18th birthday when deputies arrested him on Dec. 9, about eight hours after the stabbing death of 39-year-old David Floyd.
The Sheriff's Office initially charged Daily with first-degree murder. The next step would have been to present the case to a grand jury, which determines whether there is evidence that a defendant planned a killing. If so, the grand jury issues an indictment.
In Daily's case, the evidence was "legally insufficient," said Assistant State Attorney Pete Magrino. Charging Daily as an adult with unpremeditated murder, however, is appropriate, Magrino said.
In Florida, prosecutors are authorized to make the call to charge a teen as an adult.
"Juvenile court is not the place for someone who commits an egregious crime as he did, at his age," Magrino said.
It's still unclear what prompted Daily to allegedly attack Floyd. The Sheriff's Office says the two had argued earlier in the day, but has released few other details.
Neighbors heard screams that Sunday afternoon and rushed to the little white house at the corner of Hayes Street and Century Drive in Spring Hill.
There, they found Floyd lying in the driveway, bleeding heavily from a wound to his chest. Daily stood nearby, neighbors told the Tampa Bay Times.
A man ripped off his shirt and applied pressure to Floyd's wound until paramedics arrived. Floyd died later that day at Oak Hill Hospital.
Investigators say Daily left the house on foot after the two began to argue. He returned about 3:20 p.m., "became physically violent" with Floyd, grabbed a knife from the kitchen and plunged it into his chest, the Sheriff's Office said.
Three children in the house at the time were not injured.
Daily's mother, Judy Daily, 43, began a relationship with Floyd in 2010, according to her Facebook page. The day before Floyd's death marked two years together.
Jesse Daily briefly attended Springstead High School as a ninth-grader between August and October 2009 and has been a homeschool student ever since, a school official said.
State records show that Daily had never been arrested in Florida previously. The Sheriff's Office had not had any calls for service from the house in the last two years.
After his arrest, Daily initially was taken to the Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility in Ocala. He turned 18 there on Dec. 18.
Four days later, he was booked into the Hernando County Detention Center on the second-degree murder charge. In his booking photo, Daily's long, brown hair frames a gaunt face marked by deep circles under his eyes.
As of Friday, his arraignment had not been scheduled.
Reach Tony Marrero at [email protected] or (352) 848-1431. On Twitter: @TMarreroTimes and @HernandoTimes.