final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion
under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Bay County. Brantley S.
Clark, Jr., Judge.
Thomas, Public Defender, David A. Henson, Assistant Public
Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.
Moody, Attorney General, Virginia Chester Harris, Assistant
Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
challenges the trial court's ruling denying her motion
for judgment of acquittal as to counts one and two, denying
her specially requested jury instruction on causation, and
admitting a flounder gig and related pictures into evidence
over defense counsel's objection. Appellant was charged
with one count of principal to manslaughter and one count of
aggravated battery by striking the victim with a flounder
the victim, and Thomas Hutchinson, the victim's friend
and Appellant's co-defendant, charged as a principal to
manslaughter by culpable negligence, went boating in West Bay
to gator hunt. Eventually, however, they began harvesting
other people's crab traps. They were all drinking.
point during their travels the boat began taking on water.
The victim refused to move to the middle of the boat to keep
the boat from sinking. Eventually the boat took on so much
water that the three had to push the boat to shore. The
victim then refused to help the other two bail the water out
of the boat. The victim said since it was not his boat he was
not going to help. This made Hutchinson angry. Appellant was
also frustrated with the victim for his failure to cooperate.
frustration, Appellant punched the victim one time in the
face with her fist. She then stabbed the victim one time with
a flounder gig. While she was getting the flounder gig,
Hutchinson punched and stabbed the victim. Appellant was
unaware that Hutchinson stabbed the victim until later.
Hutchinson then yelled at the victim for disrespecting his
boat and told the victim to leave. The victim obliged and was
last seen swimming over to some nearby trees while holding
and Hutchinson waited for hours to be rescued. About a
half-hour after the victim swam away, Hutchinson told
Appellant that he had stabbed the victim. He told Appellant
that he sliced the victim in his back, but not bad enough to
the Bay County Sherriff's Office sent out a helicopter to
search for the stranded boat and its three passengers. The
helicopter pilot and a deputy located the partially sunken
boat on a levy. The thermal imaging device detected three
heat signatures, but when the deputy shined a spot light in
the area, he only saw two people. The pilot circled the boat
long enough to confirm that a private search party reached
the stranded passengers.
early morning hours, the private search party towed the
stranded boat and its two passengers back to the dock at Carl
Grey Park. Two officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission were present when the boat came in
and they observed a flounder gig in the boat.
an outstanding warrant, Appellant was detained and taken into
custody shortly after the boat arrived at the dock.
Hutchinson gave a statement to the officers. He told the
officers that he and the victim had argued about taking traps
illegally, so the victim got out of the boat and swam to
shore. Based on this information, the officers did not send a
search party to look for the victim.
later received information causing them to suspect that the
victim's welfare was not as previously represented by
Hutchinson. A sergeant with the Bay County Sherriff's
Office went to the jail to speak with Appellant. Appellant
told the sergeant that the victim had been drunk, punched in
the face, and sliced up by a knife. Later, in two subsequent
interviews, Appellant admitted to hitting the victim once in
the face and stabbing him once with a flounder gig.
on the information provided by Appellant, the officers
initiated a search. Shortly after the search resumed the next
day, the victim's body was found floating face down in
East Bay. On that same day, officers went to Hutchinson's
residence and seized a ...