Newly released video dating back to March 2017 shows murder defendant Ronnie Leon Hyde, 63, speaking to investigators before his arrest for allegedly killing Fred Paul Laster, 16. A detective confronted him and accused Hyde of putting the teen’s dismembered body in a dumpster back in 1994. Hyde was told all the evidence pointed to him. In response, he referenced a certain conspiracy theory.
“There’s evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald killed President Kennedy, but that don’t make it true,” he said.
“We’re not talking about the Kennedy assassination,” the detective shot back. “We’re talking about you putting a 16-year-old boy in a dumpster.”
Hyde pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, and his case is pending. A trial set for last December was postponed after the defense requested more time to prepare, records show.
This is a case decades in the making. A dismembered human torso was discovered in a dumpster behind a BP gas station on June 5, 1994, according to the arrest affidavit from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. The head, hands, and legs were missing. Authorities, however, found a key piece of evidence: a torn, bloodied flannel shirt.
The body went unidentified for years, and it was highlighted years later on the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, authorities said. NCMEC highlighted the victim’s approximate height, approximate age, and apparent appearance. Meanwhile, there was a separate missing persons case. The sister of 16-year-old Fred Laster reported him missing in 1995. According to deputies, she said that her brother was last seen by Hyde, a family friend.
By 2015, there was a major development in the case. Laster’s sister reached out to deputies with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, and suggested that the torso case highlighted by NCMEC might involve her brother. DNA testing determined that her suspicion was correct, according to the story told by detectives.
Detectives asked the sister if she knew if anyone could be involved with her brother’s disappearance.
“Ron Hyde,” she said. The woman claimed to have confronted him over the years regarding what happened to Fred. She claimed Hyde gave five different stories over time.
Authorities said DNA evidence on the the flannel shirt confirmed Hyde’s involvement.
The defendant has also been charged in a child porn case regarding other alleged victims.
Official handling of the Laster case has been scrutinized. NCMEC wasn’t told about the 1994 case until 2014. Medical examiners tried to take another look at the victim’s body in 2016, but discovered that certain bones were missing. These were found a month later in a bag labeled “unknown.”
[Screengrab via FOX 30]