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    Tuesday, December 06, 2022

    Florida prosecutors may call over 70 witnesses in Todt trial

    Prosecutors may call more than 70 witnesses to help argue their case against Anthony Todt, the former Colchester physical therapist charged with killing his wife, children and family dog in Florida more than two years ago.

    The lengthy listobtained by The Day from the Office of the State Attorney of the 9th Judicial District of Osceola County, Florida includes more than 45 people from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, a veterinarian, the Todts' former landlord, an Amazon employee, a few federal investigators and at least seven people from the District 9 Medical Examiner’s Office in Orlando.

    Earlier this month, a civil suit was filed by Bank of America against Anthony Todt, Megan Todt, their three children, Megan Todt’s estranged mother, Gail Gula, and others who may have claims to their estate, for unpaid mortgage on the Todts' Celebration, Fla., home.

    The Todts were in considerable debt at the time of the homicides. The couple owned a condo at 221 Longview Drive in Celebration and were being evicted from a home they rented in the same neighborhood — the home in which the bodies were found — for failing to pay rent.

    The bank is asking the court to foreclose on the mortgage, sell the property and determine whether any parties have claim to the property.

    Todt is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of animal cruelty in the deaths of his wife, Megan, their children, Alek, Tyler and Zoe, and the family dog, Breezy, at their home in Celebration. Investigators and the medical examiner say he had been living in the home with the dead bodies of his family for weeks.

    Todt has pleaded not guilty to all charges. His criminal case will be heard at the Osceola County Courthouse in Kissimmee, Fla., in front of Judge Keith Carsten.

    Federal charges also were brought against Todt, who had owned a now-closed physical therapy practice in Colchester, over an alleged yearslong health care fraud scheme. That case has been put on hold as he awaits trial on the murder charges. He has been behind bars at the Osceola County Jail awaiting trial since January 2020.

    Assistant State's Attorney Danielle Pinnell filed the state's list of 72 witnesses they may call and later filed a supplementary witness list that includes two more employees of the sheriff's office.

    The trial is set to begin April 4, following a series of delays that have pushed the start of jury selection off for months. It originally was scheduled to start in September 2021.

    Todt's lead defense attorney, Peter Schmer, died in December at the age of 61, according to court records. In a letter sent to The Day in January, Todt said his attorney had been in remission after battling cancer. At his most recent court appearance on Jan. 21, Todt was with attorneys from the Florida 9th Circuit Court public defender’s office: Robert Wesley, Alesha Smith and Azalia Romero Sanchez.

    The trial was delayed last year after defense attorneys filed a series of motions asking the court to prohibit several kinds of evidence, including certain crime scene photos, Todt's first two statements to investigators and information about his alleged health care fraud.

    Judge Carsten ruled to admit the crime scene photos, omit the health care fraud investigation and limit the use of certain parts of Todt's confessions to investigators. The Osceola County Sheriff's Office has said that Todt confessed to the killings, though that confession has not been released publicly in full. Todt and his legal team have cast doubt on the veracity of the confessions, given what they say was Todt's incapacitated state when first questioned.

    t.hartz@theday.com

    s.spinella@theday.com 

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