Family faces alleged killer for first time in nearly 2 years after Tampa Bay boat crash leaves jet skier dead

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Pinellas County prosecutors said a drunken boater killed Robert Krysztofowicz as he rode a jet ski on labor day weekend in 2019. Now, nearly two years later, the victim’s family says they’re still fighting for justice.

“It was devastating to lose him. I think about him every single day and miss him every single day too,” said Emily Krysztofowicz, daughter of Rob Krysztofowicz.

Rob Krysztofowicz died a year and nine months ago, but for many of his friends and family, Friday was the first time they came face to face with the man accused of ending his life.

“I’m mad, I wanted him to feel our eyes on him the entire time. Obviously, he wouldn’t look at us in the face,” said Abby Krysztofowicz, daughter of the victim. The Krysztofowicz family spoke with 8 On Your Side outside the courthouse immediately following the pre-trial hearing.

Krysztofowicz wants the man accused of killing her father, boater Jesse Mayer, behind bars until his trial. Prosecutors said Mayer was drunk when he struck and killed Robert Krysztofowicz as he rode a jetski in the Intracoastal on Labor Day weekend 2019.

“The people of Pinellas county want to know you’re not out drinking 24/7,” the judge said to Mayer in court Friday.

Since 2019, Mayer has worn an ankle bracelet, known as a CAM, to automatically detect if there is alcohol in his blood. But two weeks ago the judge let Mayer switch to a breathalyzer called the Soberlink.

On June 2, Mayer was 50-miles offshore working on a charter boat, and the Soberlink failed to register. On Friday prosecutors argued Mayer should be put back behind bars to be monitored better.

The judge denied revoking the bond but switched him back to the CAM.

“When there’s alcohol involved and someone is deceased, and we have a criminal case pending I have to make sure you’re not drinking while out of custody,” said the judge.

Krysztofowicz’s wife of 27-years Kathy said while she’s happy with the outcome of the pre-trial, it won’t bring back her husband.

“[Rob] was awesome, just the best guy. He was sweet, funny, just great,” said Kathy Krysztofowicz.

She said seeing her husband’s alleged killer for the first time was tough.

“It was very difficult to see him walking around and I don’t have Rob,” Krysztofowicz said with tears in her eyes.

25 friends and family of Krysztofowicz flew in from Buffalo, New York where he was from to let it be known how much he was loved.

A trial date is set for Nov. 1.

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