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Defense team files motions in attempt to keep Nassau County deputy killer off death row
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Defense team files motions in attempt to keep Nassau County deputy killer off death row

  • PublishedMay 19, 2024

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – Despite a near unanimous jury recommendation for the death penalty for Patrick McDowell, his defense team is trying new methods to keep their client off death row.

His attorneys have filed two new motions ahead of his Spencer hearing, set for June.

In April, a jury voted 11 to 1 to recommend McDowell be sent to death row for shooting and killing Nassau County Deputy Joshua Moyers.

The new motions were filed in court this week. One motion is asking the judge for a new penalty phase. The other outright asks the judge to set aside the recommended death sentence and instead, sentence Patrick McDowell to life in prison.

READ | Full defendant’s memorandum in support of life sentence | Full defendant’s motion for new penalty phase hearing

“I deserve what I gave him. He deserved better, but I do not. Let me be clear, this is not a plea for my life or my death. This is a plea for Deputy Moyers and his family,” McDowell said on the stand during his sentencing trial in April.

In two motions, McDowell’s defense attorneys outline why they feel the mitigating factors should be enough to sway the judge.

RELATED | ‘Make me pay for it’: Deputy killer reads statement before closing arguments in sentencing trial

The first addresses McDowell specifically.

  • Including his past trauma as an adolescent, which included the deaths of two childhood friends in a car accident

  • His lifelong respect for law enforcement. His own stepfather was a police officer.

  • It also mentions his celebrated career in the Marine Corps. It was at this point in his life where he was said to be “the best of the best.”

RELATED | Following death sentence for deputy’s killer, Army veteran urges other veterans to address mental health | Mentor says he blames himself for the downfall of man who killed Nassau County deputy

It also addresses the dark side of his service.

  • His return from deployment in Iraq with signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • It said at one point, he observed combat casualties and children being intentionally burned by their parents

  • There was also mention of a close friend’s suicide and McDowell’s addiction to methamphetamine

The second motion focused entirely on the legal proceedings against him. It says the court made a mistake by not moving the sentencing trial out of Nassau County and not declaring Florida’s new death penalty standard unconstitutional, among other reasons.

No matter the outcome, Moyers’ loved ones have vowed to follow through to the end.

“This was a simple case of good versus evil. Josh was everything that was good. The murderer was everything that was bad,” Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said.

McDowell has a Spencer hearing scheduled for June 3. His attorneys will be able to present additional evidence not heard at his sentencing trial.

Copyright 2024 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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