In the end, it came down to a father's word against his daughter's.
A Pinellas County jury decided Thursday that Anthony LaMarca fabricated his story about how his daughter's husband was killed. After deliberating a little more than an hour, the panel of five men and seven women found LaMarca guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Kevin Flynn.
LaMarca, 42, showed no emotion when the verdict was read. A slight smile creased his face as it had during most of the four-day trial.
Flynn's parents, Robert and Terry Flynn, held hands in the front row of the courtroom. The Dunedin couple jerked as the verdict was read. Mrs. Flynn leaned over and kissed LaMarca's 21-year-old daughter, whose testimony played a major role in the conviction.
"For once, justice has prevailed," Mrs. Flynn said. "Now maybe my son can rest. Anthony thinks it's funny, but the Flynn name ended with our son. I'd like to squash him like a bug."
Circuit Judge Brandt Downey III scheduled the penalty phase of LaMarca's trial for Thursday. Prosecutors are seeking death.
LaMarca's daughter trembled and went into a conference room to compose herself. Her name is not being published because LaMarca is also accused of raping her the night Flynn was murdered.
"I'm very relieved," she said. "As far as I'm concerned, he's not my father. He'll get what he deserves. I don't care, as long as he's as far away from me as he can be."
She and other family members were just getting acquainted with LaMarca when Flynn was murdered. Four months earlier, LaMarca was released from a state prison after serving 11 years of a 22-year sentence for kidnapping and attempted rape. He had spent much of his life behind bars.
On his wife's 20th birthday, Dec. 2, 1995, Flynn was shot twice in the head with a .22-caliber rifle. He was found dead in LaMarcas's rented mobile home in Dunedin.
Flynn, his wife and LaMarca had been playing pool and drinking at a Dunedin bar that night. Leaving his wife at the bar, Flynn gave LaMarca a ride home. Flynn was killed, and LaMarca returned to the bar to get his daughter.
She testified that LaMarca told her they were going to his father's house in Hudson to meet her husband. At the Hudson house, she said, LaMarca raped her and then ran. Flynn was found dead at 2 a.m. the next day.
She and other witnesses testified LaMarca had the rifle identified as the murder weapon before and after Flynn was shot. The gun was found in the house in Hudson.
The only defense witness was LaMarca, who told a different story. He testified Wednesday that he passed out and awoke to find her straddling him.
LaMarca told jurors he pushed her off of him. She became angry and told him she had shot her husband because he would not give her the car keys. He said she told him that she would blame the murder on him.
In his closing argument, Assistant Public Defender Ron Eide told jurors no evidence of rape was found. He contended some prosecution testimony was questionable because one witness used drugs and another was "a professional snitch" who wanted favorable treatment from authorities.
"What we have here is purely circumstantial evidence except for (LaMarca's daughter's) testimony," Eide said, saying the lack of evidence created a reasonable doubt about LaMarca's guilt.
Assistant State Attorney Shawn Crame argued that LaMarca was afraid he was losing control over his family. When Flynn stood up to him, he killed him.
"This case is about the difference between fact and fiction," Crane told jurors. "All 12 of you heard a fairy tale yesterday."