State seeks death for three men charged with Delray Beach murder
Nov 08, 2012 (Menafn - Sun Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --A jury conviction could mean death for the three men charged in the Aug. 30 murder of former New Jersey high school wrestler Dustin Deckard in Delray Beach.
Palm Beach County State Attorney Peter Antonacci has filed paperwork indicating that the state intends to seek the death penalty in the prosecution of Sherman Colson, 23, of Lake Worth, Kevin Sammiel, 27, and Thomas Byrd, 22, both of Boynton Beach.
On Thursday, Circuit Judge Joseph Marx held a status hearing for the defendants and requested attorneys return for an update Feb. 1. Another judge will handle the case because Marx is temporarily rotating to civil court.
A Palm Beach County grand jury on Sept. 27 indicted Colson, Sammiel and Byrd on charges of first-degree murder with a firearm and robbery with a firearm.
The defendants did not appear in court for the status hearing. They have been held in Palm Beach County Jail since their arrest by Delray Beach police, just after Deckard was found dead in the 1100 block of Southwest 10th Street -- two days before his 23rd birthday.
Deckard was the victim of a random attack just after midnight Aug. 30, according to an arrest report. Police said Colson, Sammiel and Byrd were looking for a quick payout -- and Deckard was shot once in the back after being beaten.
Assistant State Attorney Aleathea McRoberts declined to comment Thursday.
The three defendants had 55 felony charges, 42 misdemeanors and four convictions between them before their arrests in the Deckard slaying.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Byrd was charged with two counts of murder in February 2010 in Orange County, Fla. The charges were later dropped.
Mitch Beers, Byrd's attorney, said the circumstances of the case and his client's background do not justify a death penalty prosecution.
"This is not heinous," Beers said. Colson and Sammiel are represented by different lawyers.
According to media reports and accounts from family and friends, Deckard was a wrestling star in his native Pennsville, N.J., who overcame a heroin addiction. He had moved to Florida for a fresh start.
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