KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The state of Florida and the defense rested their respective cases Wednesday in the trial for the man accused of murdering his family inside a home in Celebration.
Anthony Todt, 46, a physical therapist, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his 42-year-old wife, Megan, his 4-year-old daughter, Zoe, and his two sons Alek, 13, and Tyler, 11.
[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]
The victims’ decomposing bodies were wrapped in blankets and had stab wounds and toxic amounts of Benadryl in their bodies when they were found in January 2020, according to autopsy reports. The bodies were discovered when federal agents and deputies went to the house to serve an arrest warrant for health care fraud charges in Connecticut.
The state started Wednesday by calling Detective Cole Miller to the stand. Miller interviewed Todt after the slayings, and video of the interview was played for the jury on Tuesday.
TESTIFYING NOW: Detective Cole Miller, who interviewed Todt. Yesterday ended with the jury watching the video of that interview.— Lauren Cervantes (@LaurenNews6) April 13, 2022
Defense says they were caught off guard by state resting today— Lauren Cervantes (@LaurenNews6) April 13, 2022
The state questioned Miller for a few minutes, and the defense declined to ask Miller any questions. The state then rested.
Attorneys representing Todt said they were surprised by the state resting its case on Wednesday.
Court resumed after an hour-long recess, with the defense calling Todt to the stand.
Todt said his wife had several health issues, including Lyme disease.
“My wife -- she was a yoga teacher in addition to physical therapist -- went from a very strong, vibrant woman to barely holding onto 90 pounds,” Todt said.
He said his wife also had miscarriages, saying “it affected her big-time.”
“She went from a humming and dancing person to someone who didn’t get out of bed,” Todt said.
Todt then blamed the deaths of his children on his wife, saying he came home and found the children dead and blood on his wife’s shirt.
Todt said he was distraught and tried to cover for his wife.
He then told the jury that he tried to kill himself several times.
“I remember at least eight times,” said Todt, adding that he tried to overdose several times on Benadryl. “I just wanted to be with my family.”
His attorney then asked, “Mr. Todt, did you kill your family?”
“No,” Todt said.
Todt blaming kids death on wife. Says he came home and the kids were dead and blood was on his wife’s shirt.— Lauren Cervantes (@LaurenNews6) April 13, 2022
The state then cross-examined Todt, questioning him about his wife’s health.
Todt said his wife used holistic, spiritual and religious practices in an effort to treat her ailments.
After a lunch break, the defense rested without calling any other witnesses.
Closing arguments will take place Thursday morning.
On Tuesday, the state called the medical examiner to the stand, and she said the victims died of homicidal violence of unspecified means and toxic amounts of Benadryl. She also said she could not rule out if they had been smothered.
Opening statements from prosecutors were presented Monday.
Todt told detectives that he and his wife, Megan, had an agreement to kill their family so they could “pass over” since the apocalypse was coming, Assistant State Attorney Danielle Pinnell said.
Jurors also heard from several witnesses on the first day of the trial, including an officer who found the bodies of the Todt family.
The jury did not hear from Todt’s public defenders on Monday. They told the judge they wanted to present their statements after the state rests its case.
Todt initially confessed to the killings but in jailhouse writings he has since blamed his wife for the slayings. He was arrested in January 2020, but investigators believe the family members were killed weeks earlier.
The judge expects the trial to last up to two weeks.