Trial date set for man accused in 1994 murder of teenager

Ronnie Hyde set to go to trial in December in cold case killing

By Frank Powers - Assignment manager

Ronnie Hyde waived his right to a speedy trial Monday during a court appearance

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A trial date was set Tuesday for a Jacksonville Beach man accused of killing and dismembering a 16-year-old boy in 1994.

The trial was set for Dec. 3.

Ronnie Hyde is also facing 12 counts of possession of child pornography. His lawyers want a separate trial on those charges.

Police said 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 is awaiting trial for the murder, which he was linked to last year through DNA evidence, police said.

Hyde’s lawyer filed a motion asking that items seized from Hyde's Jacksonville Beach house, including his car, a guitar and amp, his cellphones and two guns, be returned. Hyde's attorney argued that the evidence was illegally taken by police from the home, which was later torn down.

But in its response to that motion, the State Attorney's Office said the phones will not be returned, because they are being processed by the FBI, and “the state anticipates the phones in question will contain images of child pornography and child erotica.”

Police said child porn was found on computers at Hyde's home, leading to the child porn possession charges.

The state also said “no” to returning the guns, saying they have value as evidence.

According to prosecutors, after Hyde’s arrest in March, a man came forward, telling the FBI he was sexually exploited by Hyde when he was a runaway in 1992. The man said Hyde mentored him, brought him to his house and used the guns as part of “the grooming process” to sexually assault him.

Investigators said Hyde used the guns to impress boys, got them to watch pornography and eventually abused them.

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