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Warrant reveals Pinellas victims' last words before double murder

Patrick “Rick” Evans, center, is escorted out of court during a recess Monday afternoon. Evans, a former Jabil Circuit vice president, was arrested last month on two counts of first-degree murder after his estranged wife and a man were found dead in her condo.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Patrick “Rick” Evans, center, is escorted out of court during a recess Monday afternoon. Evans, a former Jabil Circuit vice president, was arrested last month on two counts of first-degree murder after his estranged wife and a man were found dead in her condo.

Three voices can be heard on the 911 tape.

Detectives believe two of the voices belonged to Elizabeth Evans and Jerry B. Taylor, work friends who had become romantically involved.

The third voice, they say, was that of Elizabeth Evans' estranged husband, Patrick "Rick" Evans.

Investigators say Patrick Evans forced his way into his wife's condo while she and Taylor were together. A phone line to 911 was left off the hook, recording the chilling final moments of a double murder.

According to a transcript of the call, the victims identify their assailant by name: Rick. They ask him to put the gun down. Then there is a single gunshot.

"Have you lost your … mind!" screams a female voice.

Then a second gunshot and silence.

Patrick Evans' defense attorney, Frank McDermott, fought in court Monday to keep a search warrant that transcribed the 911 tape out of public view.

McDermott argued that its release would create a media firestorm, making it difficult to seat an impartial jury for Evans' trial.

But a judge ruled against him, and the warrant was released Monday afternoon, revealing what evidence led detectives to arrest Patrick Evans on two counts of first-degree murder.

Elizabeth Evans, 44, and Taylor, 43, were found dead in her Gulfport condo on Dec. 20. They were shot in the master bedroom. Both were found nude.

The next morning, Patrick Evans, 41, was arrested on two counts of first-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

Elizabeth Evans was trying to divorce Patrick Evans, the warrant said, but he "did not acknowledge (her) desire" to leave him. The globe-trotting ex-Jabil Circuit executive had already lost his job and six-figure salary weeks before the slayings.

The victims worked together at Tech Data Corp., the warrant said, and were seeing each other.

Someone called 911 from Elizabeth Evans' condo about 7 p.m., the warrant said, but hung up. When a 911 operator called back, an unknown person picked up the phone and left it off the hook.

Here, according to the warrant, is what happened next:

"Rick, put the gun down," said a male, presumably Taylor.

A female voice, presumably Elizabeth Evans', also used the name "Rick."

"This is ridiculous," the woman said. "I am putting on a robe."

"Get on the bed, Jerry," said a voice detectives believe is Patrick Evans'.

"Put the gun down," said the man presumed to be Taylor, "and I will get on the bed."

Then came the two gunshots.

Both victims were shot in the neck, Pinellas sheriff's officials said. Two .40-caliber shell casings and an empty holster were found in the master bedroom, the warrant said.

Authorities haven't found the murder weapon. But the warrant showed that Patrick Evans owned a .40-caliber pistol and that .40-caliber ammunition was found in his St. Pete Beach home. His second wife told deputies he always carried the gun with him.

Attorney Alison Steele, on behalf of Times Publishing Co., parent company of the St. Petersburg Times, opposed the defense motion to seal the warrant. Whether the 911 tape itself will be made public has yet to be litigated.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley said she has tried several high-profile murders and can ensure that an unbiased jury will hear Evans' case, despite the publicity.

Then, as a TV news camera rolled, she made this note to McDermott: "One of the ironies of having (the warrant) sealed … is you're having much more pretrial publicity than you would have had."

Warrant reveals Pinellas victims' last words before double murder 01/12/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 7:24am]
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