Closing arguments expected in Brevard County death penalty case

Titusville resident William Woodward charged with first-degree murder

By J.D. Gallop, Florida Today, James Sparvero - Reporter

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Attorneys are set to present closing arguments Tuesday morning in the death penalty trial of Titusville resident William Woodward.

Prosecutors say Woodward, 49, shot three of his neighbors – two died – in September 2012 after what defense attorneys say was a constant campaign of harassment.

Jurors are weighing Woodward's home surveillance video capturing the 31 gunshots and three weeks of witness testimony.

Once the arguments are concluded, the case will be turned over to the jury, which will decide whether Woodward is guilty of two charges of first-degree premeditated murder with a firearm and one charge of attempted first-degree murder for killing Gary Hembree and Roger Picior and wounding Bruce "Tim" Blake in Titusville.

Defense attorneys say that video surveillance captured some of the emotional abuse, including threats to harm his family, from his neighbors over the last several weeks leading up to the shootings. One video also depicts Woodward creeping from his Titusville home toward his neighbors before firing several rounds, prosecutors reported. Woodward then went back to his home, sat in a lawn chair and waited for Titusville Police to arrive.

Woodward says he was acting in self-defense. 

He chose not to testify Monday.

"I wasn't surprised because it would not have helped him," said Deena Chemerys, a friend of Hembree's family. "I don't think that he would have been able to hold his composure. He would have said something that would have damaged his case," Chemerys told News 6 outside the courtroom.

She said she hopes Woodward gets the death penalty or at least, life without parole.

"I think it would be fair to society to know that we don't have to worry about somebody of his caliber doing this to another family," Chemerys said.

"From day one I thought that William Woodward was guilty and I think that the truth came out about what happened," she added.

Woodward's former neighbor Larry Mueldrin believes the veteran is not guilty of murder.

"I lived through it too. We could not go outside of our house. We were cussed, harassed," Mueldrin told News 6. "We had no where to turn. We tried everything. They said they were going to break him. Well, they broke him and they got what they deserved in my opinion," the Woodward supporter said.

Woodward testified during his 2015 stand your ground hearing but the jury will not see that testimony.

Jurors could reach a verdict Tuesday.

Copyright 2018 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.