Saturday, December 12, 2009

Death penalty still on the table in trial of suspect in Hoffman case

Deneilo Bradshaw sits stoically during the fourth day of his murder trial on Thursday. Prosecuting attorneys called their last witnesses in Day 4 of the Hoffman murder case on Thursday, December 10, 2009. One of the witness, FDLE investigator J. Cesar Saldanha, told the jury that Bradshaw led investigators to the body of Rachel Hoffman back in May of 2008.

Deneilo Bradshaw faces the death penalty if found guilty of killing police informant Rachel Hoffman, despite an appeal by his defense team Friday to remove the punishment as an option.

Defense attorney Greg Cummings argued before Circuit Judge Mark Walker that the death penalty would be inappropriate in Bradshaw's case because the 24-year-old did not pull the trigger on the gun that shot Hoffman five times nor did he intend to kill her.

But Walker sided with Assistant State Attorney Eddie Evans, who said evidence presented during this week's trial showed that Bradshaw and his brother-in-law Andrea Green were equally culpable for Hoffman's death. Green is being tried separately in October for her murder.

Bradshaw, not Green, was working at the car tinting and detailing shop the day the gun used to kill Hoffman was stolen, Evans said. It was Bradshaw who talked to the 23-year-old that day about her purchasing a gun. In addition, Evans said, Bradshaw was in Hoffman's vehicle before and after she was killed and had some of the money police gave Hoffman to buy drugs and a gun from the men in the botched drug sting operation that led to her death.

"At this point," said Walker, citing U.S. Supreme Court precedent, "there is supporting evidence that there was major participation (by Bradshaw) and there was reckless indifference."

Without elaboration, Walker also denied a defense motion for acquittal. Defense attorney Clyde Taylor argued that Bradshaw did not go to Gardner Road to rob Hoffman — an offense that triggers a felony murder charge — but simply to sell her drugs and gun.

"You have absolutely nothing that shows a state of mind intent to rob Hoffman or that this defendant knew a crime, i.e, a homicide, was to occur on May 7, (2008)," Taylor said.

Evans countered that the behavior of the men after Hoffman was killed showed they intended to rob her. He pointed to the fact that while Hoffman was to buy 2 ounces of cocaine and 1,500 Ecstasy pills from the men, they didn't bring the drugs.

"When you look at someone's subsequent actions, you can see their intent," Evans said.

Bradshaw's murder trial resumes Monday with his defense team putting on its case. Jurors are expected to begin deliberating on Tuesday.


No comments: