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Former Sarasota County Sheriff’s Deputy Frank Bybee is facing a life sentence for attempted murder and 17 other charges, as his trial continues in Florida. Bybee is accused of trying to kill 79-year-old woman Marcia Sohl on January 12 of this year.
Authorities say Bybee first met the woman when she called the Sheriff’s Office for help on October 21, 2016. He took her to a hospital and stayed with her for a bit before leaving, but she claims he didn’t leave her alone after that. According to a police affidavit, Bybee reached out to the woman afterwards and maintained a more “familial” relationship, but in December, she reported Bybee to the Sheriff’s office, saying that he was interfering in her personal life and was trying to control her. Police say he also took her dog, and stole bank checks from her home, depositing tens of thousands of dollars into his own account.
During an investigation, Bybee told authorities that he didn’t intend to keep the dog, and that the money he took was to go towards taking care of it, according to the affidavit. However, police say, Bybee also said he then got rid of the dog, giving it to someone else through Craigslist.
The Sheriff’s office placed Bybee on administrative leave, and days later, he allegedly went to the woman’s home and tried to kill her. She told police that he let himself into her home, and while wearing gloves, forcefully grabbed her face and tried to force medication that she used as a sleep aid down her throat. She said she lost consciousness, and when she woke up, her car was running while parked in the garage, with the door from the kitchen to the garage open, allowing carbon monoxide to spread through her home.
Bybee was arrested on January 23 and fired on January 31. Besides attempted murder, his charges include burglary, theft, exploitation of the elderly, and kidnapping.
On Monday, Detective James Klay testified. Klay works in digital forensics and discussed his investigation into electronic communications between Sohl and Bybee, which was extensive, and included emails and text messages. Some of the texts made it seem that Sohl was trying to give money to Bybee, but Bybee didn’t want it. Klay noted that it appeared that at one point, Bybee accessed Sohl’s email account.
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