LeBaron murder trial to be delayed
He's charged with beating man to death
Jonathon LeBaron, accused of killing a Cape Coral man on a Stock Island boat just more than a year ago, won't stand trial this month as originally expected, according to prosecutors.
LeBaron is charged with capital murder in the death of Richard Gardner, 57. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
He's set for a pretrial hearing Thursday at 10 a.m. in front of Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Mark Jones. But Assistant State Attorney Manny Madruga says the defense would likely ask for a continuance.
That move would further delay LeBaron's trial, originally scheduled for later this month.
"Many depositions remain on this case," Madruga said. LeBaron's "case will not be going to trial at the end of the month."
LeBaron, 33, is accused of beating Gardner to death aboard Gardner's boat, the 43-foot Flo to Me, on Feb. 10, 2009. The boat was docked at the Kings Pointe Marina, formerly the Oceanside Marina.
Kirsten Whitmore, 41, LeBaron's girlfriend, agreed in October to cooperate with prosecutors in building their case against LeBaron. She pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and Jones sentenced her to 18 years -- contingent on her continued cooperation -- in prison. She's at the Broward Correctional Institution.
Authorities say Whitmore met Gardner through an ad on craigslist. She admitted to authorities that Gardner paid her on "numerous occasions" for oral sex while she was dating LeBaron, who's from Salt Lake City, Utah.
Gardner had offered to let Whitmore stay on his boat, and she brought LeBaron with her. He hid inside the darkened boat, according to court documents.
Whitmore "then stated that when she got to the bottom of the stairs, the flashlight suddenly went out and she felt a weight on her as Mr. Gardner fell back against her. She then heard sounds of a struggle and noise she described as bones crunching...."
An autopsy revealed Gardner suffered a broken upper and lower jaw and had numerous teeth knocked out.
After that, the pair stole Gardner's mother's 1999 Mercury Marquis and headed to Salt Lake City via Memphis, Tenn., where police pulled them over -- then let them go.
LeBaron and Whitmore were arrested on Feb. 22, after a tip led police to a Motel 6 in Midvale, Utah.
The lengthy deposition list includes law enforcement officials and witnesses in the Keys, Memphis and the Salt Lake City area.
LeBaron's attorney Eugene Zenobi couldn't be reached for comment.