Scott Daniel Bailey, accused of killing a Clearwater bank manager, took his first wrong step when he was just 14, his father says.
That's when he took up with a woman about twice his age _ a woman who pleaded guilty last year to plotting the murder of Bailey's father. Prosecutors said Elaine V. Hauss wanted to have the boy to herself.
They portrayed Hauss, now 32, as a Pied Piper for wayward teens in her neighborhood, exposing them to drugs and a fantasy game called Dungeons and Dragons.
In fact, Hauss has said, she provided them a refuge from their troubles at home, a place where they could hang out instead of running away.
On Monday, the story of Bailey and Hauss and now of the fatal bank robbery became one of blame.
Investigators say they have no doubt that Bailey, 19, and Donald A. D'Angelo, 23, took part in a robbery that turned to murder when Bailey shot and killed the bank manager.
But what was it that led to such violence?
William Bailey, 49, said it was Hauss who turned his son against him and warped the boy's mind with sex and drugs.
"She was a real big factor in his life," he said. "He didn't have a mother, so there was a big vacuum in his life that he needed filled. (Hauss) just used that the wrong way. She could have done a lot for him."
Hauss said she agrees to a point but adds that William Bailey must accept responsibility for his son as well. She said William Bailey, a former trucker, abandoned Scott and his other two sons for days at a time, and belittled his son when he did see him.
"I have no problem accepting some of the blame," Hauss said. "Before I met him he was already on the wrong road. . . . (William Bailey) needs to take some of the responsibility too."
Scott Bailey is in Pinellas County Jail, accused of shooting Margaret Stevens-Kofskey, 48, the manager of the AmSouth bank branch at 3021 Enterprise Road. Also charged in the killing is D'Angelo, who was with Bailey in the bank but was not armed, police say.
According to details that emerged Monday from relatives, friends and court records, both were from single-parent families and had struck out on their own early in life with little success. But both were capable of kindness and good intentions.
"He's a very compassionate, very warm person," Donald D'Angelo Sr., 52, said of his son.
He added, however: "We really weren't on speaking terms because of the company he was keeping and his behavior. . . . I was concerned about who he was running around with."
Said Hauss: "Scott's not a murderer. He's far from it. I guess the events of his life just led up to it. But everybody makes their own choices. Nobody can make anybody do anything."