Death sentence for man who used sewing machine to kill victim - WFLA News Channel 8

Death sentence for man who used sewing machine to kill victim

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BRADENTON, FL (WFLA) -

A Manatee county judge has sentenced Delmer Smith to death.

Smith was convicted of beating a woman with a 23-pound sewing machine back in 2009.

But he still maintains his innocence.    

In front of a judge, convicted murderer Delmer Smith had a message for the victim's family.

He said, "I'd like to sincerely express my condolences to the family and friends of Katherine Briles and strongly hope that they would gain closure. Closure through truth."

Prosecutors say in August 2009, Smith broke into 48-year-old Kathleen Briles' home in Terra Ceia, and bludgeoned her with a 23-pound antique sewing machine.

Her husband later found her lifeless body.

According to court documents, Briles was likely face down on the floor when she was struck at least eight times on the back of the head.

Smith is also serving a life sentence for a violent Sarasota home invasion...and last year a jury found him guilty of Briles' murder and unanimously recommended the death penalty.

Smith said, "Manatee County state attorneys used false evidence to implicate and later convict me of a crime."

But that didn't sway Judge Peter Dubensky.

Dubensky said, "For this crime, I adjudicate Delmer Smith guilty of murder in the first degree and sentence you to death in a manner prescribed by Florida law."

Outside the courthouse, Briles' husband, Dr. James Briles waved a picture of her and said, "Justice for Kathleen!"

Dr. Briles is thankful to everyone who helped him during this trying time and thankful for the judge's decision.

He said, "[Smith] reveals through us his behavior, and declares to us he's an enemy of society. And he's an enemy of civilization, through his own free will. And he should be dealt with accordingly, and he should be eradicated."

Dr. Briles said Smith deserves his punishment.

He said, "Delmer Smith put himself in these situations of free will. He robbed people of free will, he beat people of free will, he murdered people of free will. He knew what he was doing was wrong; he covered his tracks to make sure he was not found out. It was all from free will."

In his statements, the judge said the death penalty should be reserved for the worst of the worst criminals and Smith fits the bill.

The case will be subject to automatic review by the Florida Supreme Court.

 

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