FBI agent says family’s ‘bodies were discoloured – black and blue’
Prosecutors allege that a father accused of killing his family did so as a part of an apocalypse murder-suicide pact with his wife in an effort to “pass over” before the end of the world.
In an opening statement to the jury in Osceola County Court on Monday, Assistant State Attorney Danielle Pinnell said “everybody needed to die in order to pass over to the other side together because the apocalypse was coming”.
Anthony Todt, 46, has pleaded not guilty to several homicide counts despite reportedly confessing to killing his wife Megan, 42, and their three children – Alek, 13, Tyler, 11, and Zoey, 4 – at their home in Celebration, Florida in Desember 2019. Following the killing of the family dog Breezy, Mr Todt has also been charged with a count of animal cruelty.
Mr Todt was charged in January 2020 after local sheriff deputies were asked to check on the family by his sister Kellie Ball, sy het vertel The Daily Beast.
They found Mr Todt, a physical therapist, “could barely stand and appeared to be shaking”, telling officers he drank Benadryl in an attempted suicide.
The medical examiner found the family was killed by an overdose of Benadryl combined with “unspecified violence”. All but the 4-year-old had stab wounds.
Evidence in the trial will include pictures from the crime scene after defence attorneys failed to keep jurors from seeing the decomposed bodies of the family and their dog.
“The four deceased victims were in a state of decomposition when police found their bodies. Photographs of the deceased victims are shocking and unduly prejudicial,” wrote public defender Peter Schumer in motion to exclude the images.
Horror photographs from the rental home where Mr Todt allegedly lived with the remains of his family for weeks also showed a bloody mattress, restraints, and a gun, according to the criminal complaint.
Federal agents and deputies obtained an arrest warrant on allegations of financial crimes and entered the home on 13 Januarie 2020, finding the decomposing bodies in the main bedroom upstairs covered in blankets.
Ms Pinnell told the jury that Mr Todt confessed to the killings over the course of three interviews. She said Mr Todt admitted to killing Zoey first as she slept, saying that he “rolled over on top of her until she suffocated”.
She added that Mr Todt said he killed his sons by suffocation and stabbing.
“He was afraid that if something didn’t go the way that he wanted Tyler Todt would escape,” Ms Pinnell said.
She added that Mr Todt alleged that his wife stabbed herself twice but when she didn’t die, he suffocated her using a pillow. He then allegedly said he suffocated the family’s dog.
But in a letter to his father in July 2020, six months after admitting to the killings, Mr Todt wrote that his wife had drugged the children using a “Benadryl pudding pie”.
He also said that after she admitted to the killing, she drank a bottle of Benadryl and stabbed herself in the stomach.
“Long story short, she gave them the Benadryl/Tylenol PM pie, separated them, woke up at 11:30 [nm.], stabbed and then suffocated each one,” Mr Todt wrote.
The letter was first reported on by the Orlando Sentinel.
“At the news of this I ran to the bathroom and puked – I was weak," hy het bygevoeg.
“I love my wife, steeds, very deeply, and it will be the hardest thing to sit there and tell everyone that it was her that did this when I was not home, and then she [died by] suicide in front of me," hy het geskryf.