A 54-year-old man in Florida has been handed a life sentence for strangling his father before tying his body to a propane barbecue grill and throwing it over the side of a pontoon boat more than 10 years ago.
Authorities said Robert Remus Sr murdered his dad so he could take control of his finances and party.
According to court documents, deputies arrived at a section of St. Johns River, located 25 miles north of Orlando, after recreational boaters discovered a body floating and alerted the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
First responders then arrived to find Robert Remus Sr.’s bloated and decomposed body floating stationary in the water.
The body had “a blue and white synthetic rope tied around his neck and ankle, which was tethered to a four-burner propane grill”, according to police reports.
Authorities said it appeared that the victim had been tied to a propane grill and tossed into the water.
Deputies noted the victim had on several pieces of gold jewelry.
The Volusia County Medical Examiner’s Office said his manner of death was a homicide, and the cause was consistent with ligature strangulation. Officials determined the body had been in the water for several days.
When detectives notified Remus about his father’s death, he immediately asked “if he was in trouble and if he needed an attorney”, the affidavit states.
During the interview with detectives, Remus said his dad had “many enemies because he was a shrewd businessman”.
He then said he last saw his dad four days earlier when they went for a ride on his pontoon boat at about 3:30 pm, the affidavit said.
Remus claimed they drank a few beers and then went home. He also described the boat, mentioning a metal propane grill, and later confirmed there were blue and white ropes on board.
Surveillance video showed Remus and his dad getting in the boat, with his dad wearing the same clothing he was found in when floating dead in the river.
Detectives noted that Remus had not been notified about the circumstances surrounding Remus Sr. being found with the grill tied to his body and said he did not ask any questions about “what happened to him”, which stirred up suspicion.
Remus also expressed an interest in some of his dad’s real estate holdings.
“Remus Jr. stated he wanted Remus Sr. to sell a piece of property he owned in Costa Rica for £1million, but Remus Sr. wanted to sell it for about twice that amount,” the affidavit states.
“Remus Jr. stated he told his father they could ‘party’ for a lower sale price. Remus Jr. was interested in his ability to access Remus Sr.’s finances and also wanted the ability to complete the renovation on [the Costa Rica property] and get it sold.”
Remus was the executor of his father’s estate and “had the potential for significant financial gain after his death”, prosecutors said in their press release.
They added: “A pontoon ride turns deadly as a son murders his father — all for financial gain, State Attorney R.J. Larizza said in a statement. “The nature of the murder is especially disturbing, and unfortunately, the defendant will be spared a similar fate.”
Seventh Judicial Circuit Judge Elizabeth A. Blackburn on Friday ordered Robert Remus Jr. to serve a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2012 killing of Robert Remus Sr.
He was found guilty in June on one count of first-degree premeditated murder in his father’s grisly death by a Volusia County jury following a trial that lasted four days, prosecutors said in a press release.
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