A little late connecting the dots
DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. - More than 20 years after a pregnant woman was found strangled in a roadway, a high school classmate who served time for killing another woman has been charged with her murder.Isn't the efficiency of South Florida police so wonderful. Two pregnant women get murdered less than two months apart in the same town, but it takes over a decade to make a connection after a suspect confesses to one of the murders. Oh Broward County police are busy wrongly arresting the wrong people or trafficking in heroin. That keeps them too busy to put one and one together.
Gary Troutman was ordered held without bail Wednesday in connection with the March 1986 death of Angela Savage, the Broward County Sheriff's Office said.
Savage, 24, was last seen buying cigarettes at a neighborhood store with her infant son in tow. Witnesses said they saw a man approach her as she walked home. The infant was found safe the next morning on the porch of a family friend's home and Savage's body was found sprawled on a road.
The sheriff's office declined to say Wednesday how it linked Troutman to Savage's death, though detectives said when they reopened the case last year that they were counting on DNA tests.
Troutman, 45, recently served nine years in prison for the murder of a pregnant teen in February 1986 — six weeks before Savage was killed.
Cassandra Scott, 17, had been found strangled near a Deerfield Beach warehouse. Her death remained unsolved until Troutman was arrested in 1994 after a fight with his wife. While being questioned, he confessed that a strangulation fantasy had compelled him to kill the young woman, authorities said.
Plus who's a lunatic judge and prosecutor in Broward who gave Troutman just 25 years for two murders? The mother and unborn child in the Scott killing. The judge must have been too busy sentencing court reporters or juror candidates to jail in order to make sure a murderer does proper time in jail.
The Sun-Sentinel reports-
Eleven years after his conviction for strangling one pregnant woman, Gary Troutman is facing the same charges in another pregnant woman's strangulation death 21 years ago.The police in Broward County rented a billboard but didn't ever think Troutman was connected. What kind of incompetents do we have in South Florida law enforcement?
March 17, 1986, started off with Savage haranguing her reluctant daughter off to school. Afterward, she walked to a neighborhood store with her infant son, Dween, to buy cigarettes. Witnesses later said they saw a man approach Savage and make sexual advances during her return trip.
She never made it home.
The next morning her barefoot, strangled body was found in the 100 block of Southeast Fourth Street on an unpaved walking path. Her son was found that morning, unharmed, on the porch of a family friend.
There were few clues. Detectives suspected her boyfriend, Dween Mitchell Sr.But he was working when she went missing and Savage's family said they thought he was innocent.
The case went cold. The Broward Sheriff's Office reopened it in 1994, renting a billboard in the 1500 block of South Dixie Highway that read: "Who Murdered Angela Savage?"
This case causes a reaction in me, because I got a connection to both Savage and Troutman. We all went to the same high school. A year apart from one another.
Troutman went to Deerfield Beach High with Savage, and their families attended church together, relatives said after his arrest.Deerfield Beach HS is also my alma mata. I checked my yearbook, there was no photo of Troutman that was labeled but I did find one of Savage. She isn't the first person I went to school with at Deerfield who was murdered. The daughter of the HS bookkeeper(I had a lot of contact with Mrs. Roberts, for I was Student Council Treasurer for the 78-79 school term), Elizabeth Roberts was murdered in 1983 or 84.
Update- I got a 23-year-old Miami Herald article about what happened to my classmate. Elizabeth and her boyfriend were murdered in 1984.
MURDER OF LOVERS AT QUARRY NOT SELF-DEFENSE, JURY SAYSGod bless Elizabeth's family.
BRIAN BLANCHARD Herald Staff Writer
Roaming a Deerfield Beach quarry in the middle of a cool April night, Allen Tucker used his rabbit-hunting rifle to murder two young lovers who had parked their pickup truck beside a remote lake, a Broward jury decided Friday.
Tucker, a meek-looking, unemployed 23-year-old, faces a possible death sentence when 12 jurors meet again this morning at 10.
After two nights of being sequestered in a local hotel, the same eight women and four men who took nearly 12 hours to reject Tucker's claims of self-defense will suggest either a life sentence or death in Florida's electric chair.
Tucker raped and murdered Elizabeth Roberts and murdered her boyfriend, John Booth Jr., the jury decided. Roberts' killing was first-degree murder, while Booth's was second degree, or unpremeditated, murder.
Circuit Judge J. Leonard Fleet said Friday he planned to rule today on whether to accept or reject the jury's sentencing recommendation.
The state's case rested heavily on an incriminating, 32- minute taped conversation Tucker had with two detectives after he was charged with shooting Roberts and Booth in the back.
Roberts, 23, and Booth, 22, met Tucker at about 3 a.m. April 10.
Tucker, whose father is caretaker at the Meekins Cement Co., came upon the couple in Booth's truck, parked at the end of a sandy road beside a dredged lake at the quarry.
In his statement to police, Tucker said he forced Roberts to tie and gag Booth, then raped Roberts on the ground next to the truck. Then, Tucker said, Booth grabbed his own gun and turned to shoot Tucker.
Tucker opened fire, hitting both Roberts and Booth. When Roberts screamed he fired another shot at her, Tucker said.
"I shot her one more time . . . to shut her mouth," Tucker said.
But Tucker's version of the shootings was different this week in court. He said he did not rape Roberts. He explained evidence of sex by saying Booth and Roberts were having sex when he first saw them.
Tucker also said he fired in self-defense and only hit Roberts by accident.
In closing arguments Thursday, defense attorney Charles Vaughan said Tucker's first statement was the result of manipulation by police.
"We know what occurs sometimes in the privacy of police stations," Vaughan said. "Officers can make promises, ladies and gentlemen.
"They can tell you off the tape recorder what they want to tell you."
Vaughan also said Tucker's explanation that he was only protecting himself from Booth was plausible.
"You don't think at that point," Vaughan said. "You've just got to react."
Broward State Attorney Michael Satz, a former full-time homicide prosecutor, said the confession was "a verbal picture" too detailed and spoken too sincerely to have been the product of police intimidation.
Satz also said Tucker's latest version of the events was
suspect because Tucker had no legitimate reason to approach the couple.
"What did he think they were going to do that was so terrible he had to confront them with his .22 (caliber) rifle?" Satz asked.
After hearing a week of testimony and legal argument, jurors rejected Satz's claim that Booth's murder was premediated, perhaps finding truth in Tucker's assertion that Booth had pulled a gun on him.
Booth had a gun, three knives and a small baseball bat in his pickup truck.
I'm glad police finally arrested Troutman. If he's found guilty, may he rot in jail.
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