Sunday, 3 August 2008

Woman On Death Row For 17 Years Now Could Be Released

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- In a dramatic reversal Friday, a Daytona Beach woman once sent to death row for having her husband murdered had her life spared.

Prosecutors said Virginia Larzalere ordered her son to kill her husband for insurance money. She's been on death row for 17 years, but now she could be out of prison and on parole in just eight years.

Even the judge admitted time has changed the case. Original paperwork is lost, original witnesses are dead and the state had no choice but to give Larzalere her life.

After 17 years of fighting, prosecutors decided it wasn't worth pursuing the death penalty against Larzelere any longer.

"Since we had a locked in life in prison, it wasn't as if she was going to walk free," said assistant state attorney William Vose.

It was March 1991 when a masked murderer used a shotgun to kill Norm Larzelere in his Edgewater dental office. Virginia and her son Jason were arrested for the murder. The motive was millions of dollars in life insurance money. Jason was acquitted, but Virginia was not.

"Obviously, she was disappointed she didn't get a new trial also, because she's maintained her innocence from the beginning," said Larzelere's attorney Jim Valerino.

Her new sentence allows for the possibility though that, within eight years, she could be paroled. She told the judge Friday she doesn't accept it as the conclusion and a new attorney has already agreed to try proving her innocence.

Jason Lazelere was accused of being the masked gunmen in the murder and Virginia was in the dental office when it happened. Her new attorney says there is evidence the real killer was a robber from the Orlando area.

No comments: