Lonnie Redner, the Palm Coast man accused of a 2009 double homicide, was found guilty on all counts.
After the sentencing last Friday, Redner will serve life in prison, without the possibility of parole.
Michael Floyd and Andrew Kakowski were shot and stabbed to death on Nov. 11, 2009. They were found days later, after Kakowski missed his father’s birthday celebration. His family was worried, so they went to check on him, finding his and Floyd’s partially decomposed bodies inside the home the two men shared.
After a four-day trial, a jury of 12 deliberated for nearly two hours before pronouncing a sentence.
Prosecutors said Redner, who was addicted to prescription painkillers and going through withdrawals, went to the house the two men shared to rob them, bringing a gun with him. One of Redner’s roommates at the time testified during trial that he had watched Redner, desperate for drugs, sitting on the edge of his bed loading a gun similar to the one used in the crime.
Redner said in court that he stumbled across the two men’s bodies on Nov. 13, when he went to visit them. He admitted to being addicted to drugs and said that when he found his friends dead, he stole drugs from them. He dissolved into sobs on the witness stand, saying he was ashamed that he stole from his dead friends, but that he needed the pills like he needed air.
Redner’s defense attorney argued that the incident was not a double homicide, but instead, a murder-suicide. He called to the stand a forensic analyst, who said the positions in which the bodies were found suggested the case was not homicide.
However, this opinion was not held by other medical examiners or investigators. If Kakowski had shot himself, based on the way his body was found, he'd have had to reach his hand around to the back of his head while lying on the floor, prosecuting attorney J. Ryan Will said, arguing that it didn't make sense for a person to commit suicide in that manner.
It also made no sense that Redner would steal a murder weapon, even if he did steal drugs from the crime scene, Will said. And, a pillow was found near a Floyd's head. Will asked: Why would Kakowski try to muffle the gun shot if he was just going to kill himself?
Floyd’s and Kakowski’s family members attended the trial, and as Redner’s conviction was read, many of them wept, holding one another as they did. A handful of them spoke before Redner was sentenced, telling the court how their lives changed after the two men were murdered.
Jared Kakowski, Andrew’s brother, said that holidays are no longer a happy time for his family, since they fall so close to the anniversary of his brother’s death. Other family members spoke of their first Thanksgiving, about a week after the bodies were found.
They tried to celebrate as usual, but the empty chair where Andrew Kakoswki would usually sit was heartbreaking, they said. Things have not improved much since then.
As the victims’ family members spoke, Redner sat still, gazing at them but betraying little emotion. He stood for his sentence and remained stony faced as he was booked into jail. He will soon be transported to a state prison.
Redner’s complete charges were as follows: two counts of first-degree murder, for which he received a life sentence apiece; one count of robbery with a felony, for which he received another life sentence, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He had already been convicted of and served a sentence for that charge as he awaited charges on the murder case.