Friday, November 21, 2008

Man gets death for cyberstalking, killing his girlfriend and friend

Rene Stutzman

Sentinel Staff Writer


A judge today gave the death penalty to a 22-year-old Oviedo man to who cyberstalked his girlfriend after she dumped him then tracked her down and killed her and a friend.

Andrew Allred pleaded guilty in April to two counts of first-degree murder.

The sentence was handed down today by Circuit Judge O.H. Eaton Jr.

The judge could have sent Allred to prison for the rest of his life. The judge chose the death penalty, in part, he said, because the slayings were especially calculated.

Allred killed Tiffany Barwick, 19, and her friend, Michael Ruschak, 22, April 24, 2007, at an Oviedo home Ruschak, a University of Central Florida student, shared with roommates. Allred also wounded Eric Thomas Roberts, who tried to wrestle the gun away.

Roberts was in court today but would not comment.

Ruschak's father, Chuck Ruschak, said he wanted Allred to get a life prison sentence. That, he said, would force Allred to live in a prison's general population and would be more difficult than death row, where inmates have separate cells and are not required to work.

Barwick had lived with Allred but she broke off their relationship about a month before the shooting. He then began harassing her via the Internet, gaining access to her bank account, sending phony messages under her name and threatening to kill Michael Ruschak.

About eight hours before the shooting Barwick and Ruschak asked the Seminole County Sheriff's Office to arrest Allred, but a deputy told them there was not enough evidence.

The sheriff's office has defended its actions, saying the deputies could not have made a lawful arrest.

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