The confessions of an ALLEGED killer could hold the key to the ‘Disney father’ trial when jury selection begins, a legal expert has said.
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office in Florida found him with the bodies during a social check on January 13, 2020, according to the criminal complaint.
Horrific crime scene photos have shown the room where Todt allegedly massacred his family and slept with their decomposing bodies.
When first responders found the father, he could “barely stand and was shaking” and told paramedics he overdosed on Benadryl to kill himself, Todt’s attorneys said in legal documents.
According to legal documents, while Todt was in the hospital, he confessed to the crimes.
But his defense team argued that Todt’s Miranda rights were not properly read early in the interrogation before police took a 50-minute break.
When police returned, they read Todt his rights again, but the defense argued that the entire conversation should be thrown out, as should his January 15, 2020 statements, because they were corrupt.
What Todt said was not included in the court documents.
The Florida judge presiding over the trial partially granted the defense’s request in March, dismissing Todt’s testimony before officers took their break.
But anything after the break and statements made on January 15, 2020 will be allowed.
Those statements could “hit the defense’s case like an artillery shell,” legal expert Don Jones told The Sun.
“That’s the effect it’s going to have on the defense,” said the University of Miami law professor. “The chess game over the confessions will probably be the whole trial.”
If the jury accepts Todt’s confession as evidence, “it’s game over,” Jones said.
But if the defense can convince the jury that the rest of his statements to the police were tainted and that he didn’t fully understand the rights he waived, Todt has a chance of winning the case, the legal expert said.
There’s the issue of his mental status and whether he was drunk, Jones said.
“If you’re drunk and you make a confession, that’s a relevant fact,” he said.
“You can present that argument to the jury, who must then give weight and credibility to the confession.
“But that doesn’t change the admissibility.”
“It’s a disturbing case‘
Todt was formally charged with four counts of murder and animal cruelty on January 29, 2020 and may face charges death penalty if he is convicted.
The Connecticut physical therapist has pleaded not guilty and will finally get his day in court after the pandemic dragged out the court case for two years.
The married father of three children was lives in the family’s Disney vacation home with the decomposing bodies for weeks before the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office found him at a welfare check.
It was later revealed that his wife Megan, Alex, 13, Tyler, 11, Zoe, 4, and dog Breezy may have been dead on December 29 when police previously conducted a social check at the request of a family member.
The bodies were in an advanced state of decomposition and one of his sons was partially mummified, police said at the time.
A long delay usually favors the defense, but this particular case has been so publicized and “the evidence is strong,” Jones says, that he doesn’t think it will affect the trial.
“It’s an interesting trial, but a disturbing case,” Jones said.
DEFENSE WANTED PHOTOS THROWN AWAY
Before Todt’s defense team filed a motion to bar the confessions, they tried to suppress “shocking” photos of the decomposed bodies of their alleged victims.
The Grizzly crime scene photos were released shortly after Todt was arrested.
The pictures included the hunting knives he allegedly used, two boxes of Benadryl tablets and a bottle of antihistamine syrup.
Police also found a bloodied mattress, shackles and a gun, according to the criminal complaint.
The defense argued in court documents that the crime scene photos of the bodies were “unduly prejudicial.”
Photos of the bodies have not been released but are expected to be shown to the jury during the trial.
A Florida judge denied the defense’s request.
A motive is still not clear, but Todt was in it big financial problems at the time.
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https://www.the-sun.com/news/3974272/disney-dad-anthony-todt-jury-selection-trail-starts/ Horror images show a bedroom where Disney dad Anthony Todt “massacred his wife and three children,” the bombs case revealed