Summary of Offense:
On February 25, 1998, Jermaine “Bugsy” LeBron was convicted of armed robbery and first-degree murder. He received a life sentence for armed robbery and a death sentence for first-degree murder. According to eyewitness testimony, Larry Neal Oliver was lured to a house in Osceola County, called the "Gardenia House,” where LeBron and several others lived. LeBron offered to sell Oliver some “spinners” (accessories that are added onto the wheels of a truck) for his truck. Shortly after Oliver arrived at the house, LeBron called him toward the bedrooms located in the back of the house. As Oliver was entering the hallway leading to the bedrooms, LeBron forced him to lie on the ground face-down and shot him at close range at the back of the head with a sawed-off shotgun, which he called “Betsy.” After the victim was shot, LeBron was smiling and laughing, yelling, “I did it, I did it!” describing how it felt to kill the victim, and what the victim looked like afterward. Money, checks, and a credit card were taken from the victim, and stereo equipment was stripped from his truck. LeBron directed the others who were present, to burn the victim’s identification papers, dispose of Oliver’s body, and clean the area where he had been shot.
Over the next several days, LeBron and the others used Oliver’s credit card, pawned his stereo equipment, and cashed his checks. An attempt was made to burn the truck. LeBron admitted to his former girlfriend that he had shot and killed someone. Shortly afterwards, LeBron admitted to his then girlfriend, Christina Charbonier, that he had killed a man for his truck. LeBron then left for New York City to go to a place called Legz Diamond, a topless bar owned by his mother.
Oliver’s body was discovered in a rural area near Disney World. The body was visible on the road to Disney World, although it was covered with a blanket and some tree shrubs. According to the medical examiner, Dr. Julia Martin, the trauma to the head, which incorporated the left portion of the lip, was consistent with the gunshot wound or other type of trauma, with no evidence of any abrasion around it. The entrance of the gunshot wound was to the lower back of the head, on the right side and slightly to the right of the midline. There was a laceration of the scalp consistent with a shot at close range. There were no bruises on the hands consistent with defensive wounds. Martin concluded that Oliver’s cause of death was from the gunshot wound to the head. The others having knowledge of the event reported the murder to the police. The witnesses claimed they followed LeBron’s directions throughout the event because he had threatened them, which made them believe that LeBron might kill them the way he killed Oliver.
Of those who came forward to report the incident, twin brothers, Joe and Mark Tocci, did not tell the complete truth concerning the extent to which members of the group had been involved in the murder. After investigators questioned each individual separately, all of the witnesses except the Tocci brothers gave consistent statements and details, which police were able to verify with evidence. A crime-scene investigation was conducted by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department at the Gardenia house. A very strong stench of dried blood was immediately detected upon entering the residence. Investigators discovered several drops of what appeared to be dried blood in a big area where the southeast bedroom was located. They also discovered what appeared to be blood with an unknown substance on top of it. The search also uncovered shotguns and pellets, which were found in the other bedrooms. After eyewitness reports were made, LeBron, who was accompanied by Stacie Kirk and Howard Kendall (who was involved in burning Oliver’s truck), were apprehended in a car parked on a street outside of Legz Diamond (in New York) and arrested on December 5, 1995. A search of their vehicle uncovered Oliver’s belongings, including an identification card attached to a planner with the name, “Larry N. Oliver.” Police began questioning LeBron at around 3:15 a.m. on December 6, 1995. The questioning was recorded on a cassette and later played before a jury as evidence received.
During questioning, LeBron claimed he was at a former girlfriend’s house the night of the murder and repeatedly denied ever knowing Oliver. LeBron stated, however, that it might have been possible he met Oliver that night, but he did not remember the meeting. When asked if he noticed any blood spots or strange odors at the Gardenia house, LeBron claimed the house always had a foul smell. During trial, eyewitnesses testified that LeBron directed the events before and after the murder of Oliver. According to LeBron’s now former girlfriend, Charbonier, she had been receiving numerous letters written by LeBron, which declared he loved her and addressed her as his fiancée. In the letters, LeBron allegedly referred to her testifying as an alibi witness for him, although she had testified as the State’s witness.
LeBron was resentenced to death for a third time in Osceola County on December 28, 2005.
Howard Kendall (DC# X03585)
Kendall was convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping (CC# 95-2379), and arson (CC# 95-2437).
He was sentenced to 11 years for each offense. These offenses were unrelated to the case.
Stacie Kirk (DC# X04005)
Kirk was charged with first-degree murder in an unrelated case and armed robbery (CC# 95-2554). She entered into a plea agreement with the State for a sentence of 42 months prison and two years probation in exchange for her testimony against LeBron.
Joe Tocci was not arrested for anything related directly to the murder, aside from hiding evidence related to the murder. He received a sentence of two years house arrest followed by eight years probation.
Mark Tocci (DC# 165597)
Mark Tocci was convicted of first-degree murder as an accessory and was sentenced to three years. Tocci was tried separately for his offense (CC# 95-2350).