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Florida state's attorney won't seek death penalty for Todt, citing mental health concerns

The outgoing state's attorney in Osceola County, Fla., announced Tuesday that her office will no longer seek the death penalty against former Colchester physical therapist Anthony Todt, citing concerns for Todt's mental health, according to court records.

On Monday afternoon, State Attorney Aramis Ayala of the 9th Judicial District in Osceola County, Fla., filed a notice of intention not to seek the death penalty in the case. An independent death penalty review board had voted unanimously in February to seek the death penalty for Todt, who is charged with four counts of first-degree homicide and one count of animal cruelty in the deaths of his wife, three children and dog.

In Monday's notice, Ayala said the decision not to pursue the death penalty is the result of the "consideration of the facts and law applicable to this case" and "serious concerns regarding the mental health of the defendant."

"It is not in the best interest of the State of Florida to pursue the death penalty as a potential sentence," the notice says. "Therefore, the State of Florida will no longer be seeking the death penalty as to Anthony John Todt."

Incoming State Attorney Monique Worrell, who was elected in November, issued a statement Tuesday that said her administration did not coordinate with Ayala's on the decision and would be re-evaluating Todt's case and others.

"We will establish our own review panel to examine the individual circumstances of every capital case before rendering any final determinations on the matter," Worrell said in her statement.

Todt, a well-respected physical therapist in Colchester, was charged Jan. 13, 2020, with killing his wife, Megan, their children, Alek, 13, Tyler, 11, and Zoe, 4, and their dog, Breezy. He was found to be living in a house they rented in Celebration, Fla., with their dead bodies for weeks.

Todt confessed to the murders shortly after his arrest, according to the Osceola County Sheriff's Office. He later pleaded not guilty to the murders and in a 27-page letter to his estranged father, Robert Todt, said Megan was responsible for killing the children. He said she fed the children a Benadryl-laced pie and stabbed their sons and dog before stabbing herself.

Todt, who also was being investigated on allegations of extensive health care fraud at the time of his arrest, is being held in the Osceola County Jail as he awaits trial.

t.hartz@theday.com

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