On Wednesday, Florida man William Woodward is scheduled for a sentencing hearing in the double second-degree murders of his neighbors Gary Hembree and Roger Picior. He was also convicted for the attempted second-degree murder of Bruce Blake. Prosecutors said he snuck over to Hembree’s home on September 3, 2012, and shot the three men with a 9mm gun.
When it comes to mitigating factors, expect the defense to lean in heavily the alleged harassment by the victims. During the trial, they said the neighbors had threatened the defendant and his family for quite some time, and police and authorities did nothing about it. Wife Barbara Woodward testified that on the day of the murders, Blake’s wife Keri Blake threatened to gangrape Woodward’s daughter, and burn down their house. According to her, Picior said, “yeah, that’s what we’re gonna do.”
She believed they were serious, Woodward said.
“I had no doubt that they were capable of doing it,” she said in court last January.
For prosecutors, however, it was all a matter of timing. William Woodward did not open fire during an imminent danger to himself or his family, they said. They pursued a conviction for two counts of first-degree premeditated murder, and one count of first-degree attempted murder. Before the trial, a judge ruled that it wasn’t clear if the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law applied here, so a jury had to decide.
[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]