Monday, January 17, 2022

Florida Supreme Court overturns conviction and death sentence for remote testimony

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Peter Avsenev, 33, was sentenced to death in 2017 after being convicted on two counts of murder for the deaths of Kevin Powell, 52, and Stephen Adams, 47, at their home in Wilton Manors. Both men were shot multiple times and suffered blunt force trauma.

Jan 13 (News) – The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday vacated the conviction and death sentence of a man accused of the execution-style murder of a couple in 2010.

Her SUV and wallets were both gone from the home when police found them.

The state’s highest court overturned the conviction and verdict on the grounds that the state erroneously used pre-recorded remote testimony from a witness.

Although investigators found no guns at the Powell and Adams home, they were able to determine that Peter Avsenev knew both men and moved into their home shortly before the murders.

Jeanne Avsenev, the defendant’s mother, told investigators about “incriminating statements” and actions by her son shortly after the two men were killed.

She said her son came to visit after the killings and told her “he had done something bad”. He also brought a gun to her house, which she told him to get rid of.

“He implied that what he had done was violent, that it was the worst thing he had ever done and that he would not be able to get out of trouble if caught,” it said in the court documents.

Jeanne Avsenev said her son traveled to her home in an SUV, which he eventually said he stole and went to Walmart and made purchases with money he said a friend lent him. Prosecutors said the purchases were made using the victims’ credit cards.

While her son was still at her home, she learned that he was a person of interest in the murder case and reported him to the police.

The Florida Supreme Court objected to the fact that Jeanne Avsenev was in Polk County when she gave her testimony and was unable to see her son, which violates court procedure. She videotaped her testimony, which played at Peter Avsenew’s Broward County trial.

Although state laws allow witnesses to testify remotely if they live outside of the court’s jurisdiction, the video format must allow the witness to see the accused during testimony.

The Florida Supreme Court remanded Peter Asvenew’s case to a lower court for a new trial.

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