Joel Anderson and Dong-Phuong Nguyen, Times Staff Writers
In Print: Thursday, August 7, 2008
David "Alex" Bostick
is working toward a future that seems tantalizingly within his reach: finishing classes for his high school diploma, becoming an auto mechanic and turning his recent 20-day stint in prison into a distant memory.
The Hernando County Sheriff's Office remained bullish Wednesday about its investigation into the grisly October 2006 slayings of Patrick and Evelyn DePalma, a day after prosecutors revealed they were not prepared to press first-degree murder charges against Bostick — the first suspect arrested in connection with the crime.
"We're going to stand by our arrest," said Sgt. Jim Powers, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office. "We had probable cause to make the arrest. … This case is far from being over."
A Hernando County grand jury on Tuesday indicted Robert Jardin, 33
, of Brooksville on two counts of first-degree murder, armed robbery, armed burglary and grand theft in the stabbing deaths of the DePalmas in their Masaryktown home. But the prosecutor's refusal to charge Bostick, 18, a distant relative of the elderly couple, revealed a significant twist in the high-profile DePalma investigation.
Bostick's attorney, Michael Maddux of Tampa, would like to see a quick resolution so Bostick can move on with his life.
"The prosecution can only proceed with a good-faith basis to believe they can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt and have a conviction upheld on appeal," Maddux said. "We have cooperated. Our cooperation has demonstrated this standard cannot be satisfied. We are anxious to have this horrible allegation put to rest."
Meanwhile, the Sheriff's Office plans to continue its push to solve the crime. Spokesman Powers said two detectives are working on the case, but he declined to go into any details about the investigation, including whether there is still a third suspect.
"We're going to the fullest on every issue," Powers said. "This investigation is far from concluded, and we don't want to jeopardize that. But we stand by our arrests."
Assistant State Attorney Pete Magrino said it was possible — but far from certain — the Sheriff's Office could file charges against Bostick again.
"That aspect of the investigation is still ongoing," Magrino said. "As of (Tuesday), there was still insufficient evidence to merit the presentment of that."
More at link.