The confession given by a Florida father accused of murdering his entire family inside their luxury home, located just outside the Walt Disney World resort, was illegally obtained, his attorneys have argued.
Anthony Todt is facing multiple counts of homicide for the slayings of Megan Todt and their three children — 3-year-old Alek, 11-year-old Tyler and 4-year-old Zoe. He is also facing a single count of animal cruelty for allegedly killing the family dog, Breezy.
Authorities said the 44-year-old suspect admitted to the deadly attack following his arrest in January 2020, but has since denied in writings and phone calls from behind bars that he carried out the attack.© Provided by New York Daily News In this Jan. 15, 2020, booking photo released by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office shows Anthony Todt, who is charged with killing his wife, their three young children and a dog in an affluent suburb near Walt Disney World.
In this Jan. 15, 2020, booking photo released by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office shows Anthony Todt, who is charged with killing his wife, their three young children and a dog in an affluent suburb near Walt Disney World.
In a motion filed on Aug. 31, Assistant Public Defender Peter Schmer argued that detectives failed to properly inform Todt of his rights during a hospital interview after his arrest. As a result, Schmer contended Todt’s confession should be excluded from his upcoming murder trial, set for Sept. 27, the Orlando Sentinel reported Friday.
The 45-year-old was also “suicidal” and had a diminished capacity because he was under the influence of a Benadryl overdose, Schmer added said.
“The combination of these factors led to an invalid waiver of Mr. Todt’s Miranda rights,” he wrote.
Federal authorities and deputies with Osceola County Sheriff’s Office were gearing up to arrest Todt on insurance fraud charges linked to his Connecticut-based physical therapy business the night of Jan. 13, 2020. When they arrived at his Florida home, where Todt would spend the weekends with his family after working the week in Colchester, they discovered the bodies of his wife and children wrapped in blankets. © Provided by New York Daily News The white, two-story house where Anthony and Megan Todt lived with their three children remained a crime scene Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, the day after four bodies were found inside.
The white, two-story house where Anthony and Megan Todt lived with their three children remained a crime scene Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, the day after four bodies were found inside. (Grace Toohey/)
The victims, who investigators believe were killed weeks before their bodies discovered inside the gated community in the city of Celebration, had stab wounds and dangerous amounts of Benadryl in their systems, autopsy reports revealed. Todt meanwhile was taken to the hospital, where medical staff determined he needed to be involuntarily committed due to a Benadryl overdose, which can “cause psychosis, as well as delirium and confusion,” Schmer noted.
“My head’s spinning a little… I’m foggy. I’m in a fog right now.” Todt told detectives, according to the motion. “I’m having trouble keeping things straight.”
Schmer argued Todt’s emotional state made him “unable to execute a knowing, intelligent and voluntary waiver of his Miranda rights.”
“In the competitive atmosphere of solving high profile homicide crimes with no available concrete evidence, detectives may be tempted to cut corners and do an end run around Miranda,” Schmer wrote. “… The detective had no incriminating statements from Mr. Todt and had no concrete evidence proving Mr. Todt was the murderer. Hence, a confession was of crucial importance to solving the multi-murder crime.”
In two subsequent interviews with law enforcement, interrogating detectives read him the full Miranda warning before Todt again admitted his involvement in his family’s deaths, Schmer said.
A hearing on the matter is scheduled to be held on Sept. 20.