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By Michael scarcella
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

BRADENTON, Fl. - Larry Boyers knew there was a deputy sheriff in his carport when he fired twice through a screen door in a brazen attempt to kill the officer, prosecutors told jurors.
Boyers, whose son is a Manatee County deputy sheriff, said he was in the throes of an emotional breakdown and was insane at the time of the shooting in January 2007. He had been drinking heavily that night.
But a jury did not buy the insanity defense, finding the 62-year-old Bradenton man guilty Friday of attempted second-degree murder of a law enforcement officer. The jury deliberated for about 45 minutes.
Circuit Judge Debra Johnes Riva immediately sentenced Boyers to 20 years in prison -- the minimum mandatory term for the charge. Boyers' family members wept in court as Boyers was handcuffed and taken away. He had been free on bail since his arrest.
"He was drunk. He was angry. He was consumed in self-hate," said Assistant State Attorney Lisa Chittaro, who prosecuted the case with felony division supervisor Bruce M. Lee.
"But he crossed the line when he fired twice at Deputy Theron Robinson."
Boyers' attorney, Christopher Pratt, urged jurors to find Boyers not guilty by reason of insanity. Boyers has a long history of mental illness, the attorney said.
Boyers, said Pratt, was in a "fragile" emotional state after his wife was taken in after a suicide attempt. Pratt said Boyers was acting irrational. A mental health expert declared Boyers insane.
Extreme anger, Lee and Chittaro said, does not comprise insanity.
Robinson, the sheriff's deputy, was called out to the Boyers home in the 500 block of 64th Avenue Drive West to investigate suicide threats. Boyers had called a friend, saying he was depressed. The friend reported seeing Boyers holding a shotgun.
Robinson knew the call he was on involved a man with a gun. Standing in the carport, Robinson was yelling to a woman to come to him -- to get away from Boyers' house.
Then a shot was fired.
"All I saw was the white flash. It was hot. It moved the hair on my head," recalled Robinson, a deputy for five years. "I was just dazed."
The second shot came seconds later, Robinson said at trial this week.
"About 100 things went through my head at once," the deputy said. Pieces of wood from the carport fell on his uniform.
Robinson ran and took cover, hiding behind a van on the street. He got on the police radio, telling dispatch that shots had been fired. Deputies raced into the neighborhood, evacuating homes and closing off area roads.
Pratt, the defense attorney, said Boyers did not know anyone was in his carport when he fired a rifle.
A negotiator tried to convince Boyers to surrender without a fight. Boyers fired the shotgun sporadically throughout the night, authorities said. Boyers said he would kill himself and shoot anyone who barged into the home.
In a daring rescue, hours into the standoff, three SWAT members sneaked into a window to rescue a 4-month-old girl who was sleeping in a bedroom.
Deputies heard Boyers talking on the phone. The negotiator kept him on the phone.
Boyers surrendered several hours later, giving up in his yard without a fight. "It was a long night," Robinson said.

Wire Service
 
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