JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An attorney for a Jacksonville Beach man accused of killing and dismembering a 16-year-old boy in 1994 suggests that her client is innocent of the murder because someone else killed the teen, according to court documents obtained by News4Jax.
Police said Ronnie Hyde, 61, befriended runaway teenager Fred Laster, murdered him, cut his body into pieces and left the torso outside a Lake City gas station dumpster.
Hyde was linked to Laster's murder last year through DNA evidence, police said.
But Hyde's attorney, Anne Finnell, said that his arrest warrant affidavit does not provide any probable cause linking Hyde to Laster’s murder, and “specifically omits the fact that another person, TL, on one occasion admitted that he (TL) killed the victim.”
Finnell also wants all the evidence police gathered from Hyde's Jacksonville Beach home and his car to be thrown out, along with "incriminating statements" she says he made under duress.
Finnell said the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office intimidated and coerced Hyde into making those statements about the murder of Laster, even after Hyde asked for an attorney.
Finnell said an assistant state attorney also took part in the interrogation and tried to get Hyde to “give the family this closure” by admitting what happened to the teen.
The motions say there was no connection between Laster’s murder in Lake City and Hyde’s house and car, where investigators also found child pornography.
The State Attorney’s Office has yet to respond to the defense motions.
Hyde is set to go to trial Dec. 3.
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