Monday, December 31, 2007

No death penalty in boxer slaying

Troy Harden is seen in 2006 during a break from working out at University Boxing Gym in Melbourne. His accused killer has pleaded not guilty. Tim Shortt, 2006 FLORIDA TODAY file


Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for a Cocoa man accused of killing local professional boxer Troy Harden earlier this year.

Assistant State Attorney Rob Parker said there is not enough evidence to pursue a punishment harsher than life for 24-year-old Sheldon Woodrow Gayle, charged with premeditated murder with a firearm in connection with the early morning Aug. 8 shooting death.

Gayle, who remains at the Brevard County jail without bond, has pleaded not guilty, records show.

"The state of Florida can't seek the death penalty unless it has a good faith basis to believe that the defendant committed certain acts that . . . would outweigh any mitigators in the case," Parker said. "As a consequence, after speaking with (State Attorney Norman) Wolfinger and Mr. Harden's family, we decided that the death penalty was not appropriate in this case."

According to investigators, Gayle fatally shot 22-year-old Harden around 5 a.m. as the boxer stood outside an acquaintance's home at the Hopkins Place Apartments on Monroe Street in Melbourne.

Friends at Harden's funeral said jealousy over a woman may have led to the incident.

Witnesses told police Harden was visiting acquaintance Nashida Gayle's home.

Authorities said Harden's knock on the front door was answered by the woman's estranged husband, Sheldon Gayle, who had sneaked into the home that morning. A verbal confrontation spilled out into the backyard, then gunshots rang out.

Gayle was arrested after a chase, and Harden's body was found about two blocks away, police said.

Gayle is due in court Jan. 7.

Contact Summers at 242-3642 or

1 comment:

Brevard County Jail said...

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Brevard County Jail