JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After the prosecution laid out its case and the defense opted hold off on its opening statement, a Duval County jury began hearing testimony and seeing crime scene photos in the retrial of Randall Deviney in the 2008 murder of his neighbor, Delores Futrell.
Deviney was convicted and sentenced to die for killing Futrell (pictured below), but that conviction was overturned last year when the Florida Supreme Court ruled that Deviney's confession was coerced by police.
Prosecutors opened by playing a 911 call made from Futrell's home at 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 5, 2008, but no one was on the line. Officer S.F. Milowicki responded to the house and found Futrells' body on the floor in the living room.
Milowicki testified that the body was posed in a sexual position, with her under garments ripped. Her throat was cut.
"There was very little blood, and that struck me as odd," Milowicki said. "An injury like that, I'd expect to see blood everywhere."
While investigating, she stepped in a puddle of blood in the backyard, leading police to believe Futrell was killed outside, then her body was dragged into the home.
The prosecutors showed graphic crime-scene photos and presented other evidence -- perhaps the most important gathered by the victim herself.
"She managed to get evidence that unequivocally shows that this man before you (referencing Deviney) was the man that murdered her. From her fingers, we obtained this defendant's DNA," Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda said.
The state played a recording of testimony from Futrell's boyfriend of 30 years, who has since died. Hartwell Perkins said Deviney was a neighbor that he knew the family and attended Futrell's funeral.
When the defense asked if Deviney expressed sadness or sorrow at the funeral, Perkins answered: "Sadness and sorrow -- a loss of a friend."
The prosecution is expected to rest Thursday, then the defense will present its case.
The retrial was delayed for months while Deviney's public defender asked the appeals court to withdraw from the case because of a conflict of interest. Deviney now has a new, court-appointed lawyer.
A motion to block the prosecution from seeking the death penalty was denied.
Deviney has sent two letters to the State Attorney's Office saying he has information on a cold case involving Donald Smith, the man charged with the 2013 murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle. He asked prosecutors to make a deal in exchange for information about an unrelated, unsolved case involving Smith.
The State Attorney's Office has said it won't hear any of what Deviney has to say. It released this statement in response to his letters:
"The state's position in the Deviney case has not changed. As previously stated in court, the state has no interest in talking with the defendant about information on another case, and the state believes the defendant is perpetuating a fraud on the court."