Hedvall guilty of second degree murder
BY C.S. GILBERT
Jurors at 11 p.m., Thursday, returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the second degree against Peter Erik Hedvall, on trial in the Monroe County Courthouse in Key West this week for the slaying of Jonathan Alvarado Perez during Fantasy Fest in 2011.
“The most compelling evidence was the blood revealing the victim’s DNA, which was found on the defendant’s pants and boot,” according to a juror who wished to remain anonymous. This is, however. the same juror who broke the news of the verdict on the Bill Becker Show, she told Konk Life Friday afternoon. “The defense offered no explanation for this finding, and the state’s witness from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Crime Lab delivered excellent testimony.”
She emphasized the believability of the Crime Lab expert, Senior Lab Technician Emily Booth, who testified that the blood found on boots and the trousers of a costume Hedvall admitted wearing that night were indisputably Hedvall’s. The juror felt that defense attorneys badgered Booth, who was kept on the witness stand most of the day Tuesday.
“If the evidence was really inadequate, why didn’t the defense present their own expert?” she asked.
“The defense deliberately misled the jurors,” she said, placing “reasonable doubt in the minds of two jurors, which is why we had to deliberate for eight hours.” The deliberation involved 12 jurors. “There were 14 of us during the trial, which started last Thursday, the 20th. Two of us were alternates, but Judge Wayne Miller explained that there had been studies of juries and the alternates didn’t pay as much attention as the ‘regular’ jurors. So we didn’t learn who the alternates were until the trial ended yesterday about 3 p.m., when they were dismissed.”
Among the jurors, she said, were a social worker, a $500,000 lottery winner, a member of the Coast Guard, “a smattering of retired people” and one juror who identified herself as a board member of FIRM (Fair Insurance Rates for Monroe). “Three were from Sugarloaf, one from Cudjoe, one from Stock Island, the rest from Key West,” she said. There were originally nine women and five men; the alternates dismissed Thursday afternoon were one man and one woman.
Hedvall was charged with first degree murder; prosecutors, however, did not seek to prove premeditation, which is necessary for a first degree verdict. Second degree is defined only as murder committed in a depraved way, without regard for human life. He remains in the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island pending sentencing.[livemarket market_name="KONK Life LiveMarket" limit=3 category=“” show_signup=0 show_more=0]