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    Wednesday, May 29, 2024

    Todt family murder case in hands of Florida jury

    KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — A physical therapist from Connecticut who is accused of killing his wife and children wanted to maintain control over his family, a Florida prosecutor told jurors during closing arguments Thursday.

    Anthony Todt, a physical therapist formerly from Colchester, Conn., has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his 42-year-old wife Megan, and his three children, Zoe, 4; Tyler, 11; and Alek, 13. The judge sent the jury to begin deliberations early Thursday afternoon.

    Assistant State Attorney Danielle Pinnell told the jury that Todt, 46, nonchalantly detailed the killings to investigators after his arrest at the family's home in Celebration, a community that is located close to Walt Disney World. He later claimed that he took the blame for his wife, who he said had killed the children and then herself.

    “I was covering for my wife,” Todt, 46, told the jury when he took the stand in his defense on Wednesday. “Obviously, unsuccessfully. I had no clue how my kids died.”

    But Pinnell told jurors Todt wanted to control the lives of his wife and children.

    After his arrest, Todt told detectives that he and his wife had an agreement to kill their family so they could “pass over” together when the apocalypse — which they thought was imminent — arrived, Pinnell said Thursday, reiterating an assertion she also made in her opening statements.

    The victims were killed sometime after they were last seen in mid-December 2019, prosecutors said. Their decomposing bodies were found wrapped in blankets at the home on Jan. 13, 2020. They had stab wounds and toxic amounts of Benadryl in their systems, according to autopsy reports.

    The family's dog, Breezy, was also found dead in the home. Todt faces animal cruelty charges for the dog's death.

    The defense team maintains the state has not proved the case beyond a resonable doubt. The medical examiner, they said, could not determine whether the children were suffocated or strangled, and said the stab wounds were likely inflicted after death.

    “He came home to his kids being dead, his wife was alive but essentially dying, and stabbed herself in front of him," Assistant Public Defender Alesha Smith told jurors.

    She said the state “is essentially picking and choosing when they want you to believe Mr. Todt and when they don’t,” she said.

    But in her final words to the jury, Pinnell insisted that "there is no reasonable oubt in this case.''

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