Saturday, August 4, 2007

Slain East Manatee woman's stepson denied bail


BRADENTON -- A judge Friday ordered Thomas L. Fast, accused in the murder of his 60-year-old stepmother, held without bail pending trial.

Fast, 52, was arrested on a murder charge Thursday after Manatee County sheriff's detectives said they found the missing woman's jewelry in a bag Fast was carrying when he was arrested.

Prosecutors are expected to pitch the case to a grand jury soon, the first step in the pursuit of the death penalty. Fast's attorneys say he is mentally ill and prone to irrational thoughts.

A hearing is set for this month to address his competency.

Susan Fast was reported missing in late June when her husband returned home from a business trip in the Bahamas. Detectives discovered blood in the Fast home in the Tara subdivision.

Susan Fast's sport utility vehicle was missing.

Sheriff's detectives used the vehicle's global-positioning data to determine where it had been driven.

That data, authorities said, led to the discovery of the missing woman's dismembered body in a pond in East Manatee.

Authorities intend to analyze a DNA sample taken from Thomas Fast to compare his blood with evidence found in his truck and in his stepmother's vehicle.

Fast has denied any role in Susan Fast's death. The case against him, authorities say, is circumstantial.

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