NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – Prosecutors have notified William Broyles, the man accused of fatally shooting his wife, daughter and son at their Nassau County home, that they intend to seek the death penalty should he be found guilty of first-degree murder charges, according to a court document obtained Wednesday by News4JAX.
As written in the state’s notice of intent (full document below), the document lists aggravating factors:
- The defendant was previously convicted of felonies involving the use or threat of violence to the person.
- The capital felonies were homicides and all were committed in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification.
- The victim of the capital felony was particularly vulnerable due to advanced age or disability, or because the defendant stood in a position of familial or custodial authority over the victim.
News4JAX spoke with Jacksonville attorney Gene Nichols, who is not affiliated with the case.
“Clearly, the state attorney’s office believes based on what they’ve been told by the grand jury that this defendant committed these crimes in a manner that was either cold and calculated or was in a cruel nature,” Nichols said.
Ultimately, Nichols explained, it will be up to a jury to decide.
“The way that they’re different is we will see a sentencing trial, in which a jury makes a decision. No other crime in Florida does a jury make a decision as to an individual’s punishment,” Nichols said.
The attorney explained that under Florida law, all 12 jurors must agree on recommending the death penalty. If any juror objects, the defendant would instead face life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Sheriff Bill Leeper said the suspect, identified as Broyles, called 911 on the morning of Dec. 1, to notify the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office of the shooting.
“Later on he told us that he shot each victim multiple times, just to make sure they didn’t suffer,” Leeper said during a prior news briefing.
According to Leeper, Broyles’ 57-year-old wife was shot in the living room area of the home, his 27-year-old daughter was shot as she was waking up and his 28-year-old son was shot in a bedroom.
An arraignment date has been pushed back to Feb. 10. His defense attorney said Broyles is still undergoing a mental health evaluation.