New evidence photos released in Ronnie Hyde case

Discovery contains images of Freddie Laster taken shortly before his 1994 death

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – New evidence photos were released Friday by the State Attorney's Office in the murder case against Ronnie Hyde.

Hyde, 61, is accused of befriending runaway 16-year-old Fred Laster in 1994, killing him and cutting his body into pieces.

Laster's torso was found outside a Lake City gas station dumpster, but it wasn't until last year when, according to police, Hyde was linked to Laster's murder through DNA evidence.

The discovery material obtained by News4Jax included crime scene photos from the discovery of Laster's remains more than two decades ago at the dumpster in Columbia County.

Many of the images contained in the release were too graphic to show, including a blood-stained egg crate mattress that was found in the dumpster. 

Several photos showed the flannel shirt that was found at the dumpster, which is key to the case. Investigators found blood on the shirt, and it was tested for DNA. When Hyde was arrested in March 2017, investigators said they took a DNA sample, and they got a match consistent with his profile.

The arrest warrant said the odds that the match is not Hyde are 700 billion to 1.

The images showed other items also found in the dumpster: The two Ginsu knives used to dismember the body, plastic gloves and bathroom items.

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Crime scene photo from the 1994 discovery of the torso of Fred Laster at a dumpster in Columbia County

IMAGES: Evidence in Ronnie Hyde case

Hyde is charged with Laster’s murder, as well as possession of child pornography.

The defense has filed a motion to have those cases tried separately, and to have all the evidence seized from his Jacksonville Beach house thrown out.

Those motions have not been ruled on by the judge.

The trial is set for early December. Hyde's next pretrial hearing is in August. 

About the Authors:

Jacksonville native and proud University of Florida graduate who joined News4JAX in 2016.