State of Florida v Deidre M.Hunt.Miscarriage of Justice?

December 8, 2013

We will be taking a look at the case of Deidre Hunt. Was justice served in this case?Love to hear from you.
Deidre M. HUNT v. STATE of Florida.

imageNo. 5D98-1904.

— February 18, 2000
Carey Haughwout, of Tierney & Haughwout, of Tierney & Haughwout, West Palm Beach, for Appellant.Robert A. Butterworth, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Kellie A. Nielan, Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, for Appellee.

This is another appeal arising out of a series of crimes perpetrated by the defendant, Deidre M. Hunt, through her association with Konstantinos X. Fotopoulos.   See Hunt v. State, 613 So.2d 893 (Fla.1992);  Fotopoulos v. State, 608 So.2d 784 (Fla.1992), cert. denied, 508 U.S. 924, 113 S.Ct. 2377, 124 L.Ed.2d 282 (1993).

In the Summer of 1989, Deidre M. Hunt [“Hunt”], then twenty years old, moved to the Daytona Beach area from New Hampshire to live with her boyfriend, but the relationship soon ended.   Hunt became acquainted with Lori Henderson [“Henderson”] and Tony Calderoni.   After a brief sexual relationship, Tony Calderoni rented Hunt an apartment and provided her a job at “Top Shots,” a pool hall he managed for the owner, Konstantinos X. Fotopoulos [“Fotopoulos”].   Soon thereafter, Hunt began an affair with Fotopoulos, who in turn rented her an apartment, gave her money, and bought her clothes.

Fotopoulos was married to Lisa Fotopoulos, and lived with Lisa, her mother, and brother, in her mother’s home.   Lisa owned a business on the boardwalk in Daytona Beach called “Joyland Amusement Center.”   Sometime towards the end of October 1989, Lisa learned of Fotopoulos’ affair with Hunt and she demanded that Fotopoulos fire Hunt from Top Shots.   When he denied the affair, she announced her plan to file for divorce.

On November 1, 1989, while working at Joyland, Lisa was attacked by a man later identified as Teja James.   James pointed a gun at Lisa and told her he would shoot her if she did not heed his command.   Lisa, however, managed to escape and notified the police.   Lisa identified James’ photograph and the search began for his capture.

Four days later, Lisa awoke to a loud noise.   All she could remember was seeing Fotopoulos with a gun in his hand and a young man, later identified as Bryan Chase, lying shot at the foot of her bed with his finger on the trigger of a gun.   Fotopoulos had shot Chase several times after shooting Lisa in the head.

The police responded to the scene and initially classified the crime as a home invasion gone wrong and a self-defense shooting by Fotopoulos.   The police soon became suspicious, however, that the incident was somehow related to the events at Joyland.   As part of their investigation, the police contacted Hunt and Henderson.   While at the police station, Hunt confessed to her involvement during an audio-taped interview.

She informed them of the extent of Fotopoulos’ criminal activity, including counterfeiting, stealing cars and bank robberies.   Hunt further told the police that Fotopoulos was a “trained assassin,” had tortured then killed approximately eight people and owned numerous weapons, including assault rifles, guns, and grenades.

Hunt explained that the elaborate plans to kill Lisa had begun with another murder, that of Kevin Ramsey [“Ramsey”] a month earlier.   Ramsey was a former Fotopoulos employee whom Fotopoulos believed was blackmailing him over his counterfeiting enterprise.   The police were not aware that Ramsey was missing.

Hunt detailed the events of Ramsey’s murder as follows:  Fotopoulos, Ramsey and Hunt went out to the woods to an old rifle range.   Fotopoulos tied Ramsey to a tree, gave a .22 pistol to Hunt, pointed his AK-47 automatic rifle at her head and demanded she shoot Ramsey.   She shot him several times.   Hunt informed the police that Fotopoulos videotaped the shooting and still had the tape in his possession.   Hunt then guided the police to Ramsey’s severely decomposed body.

Hunt’s friend, Henderson, also testified at trial.   Henderson testified that she learned of the plan to kill Lisa from Hunt, who also told her the couple planned to move into Lisa’s house after her death.   Henderson testified that prior to the Ramsey murder, Hunt informed her that Fotopoulos planned for her to kill someone so he could in turn videotape it for protection.   Hunt also informed Henderson that it would be Ramsey.

Hunt presented expert testimony that Hunt’s mother suffered from multiple personality disorder with eleven separate personalities.   She also presented testimony, based upon her childhood experiences and her relationship with Fotopoulos, that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and battered woman syndrome.   Hunt’s experts testified that Fotopoulos inflicted ritualistic torture on Hunt by cutting her with razors, sucking her blood, throwing knifes, burning her with cigarettes and an iron, poking her with needles, and threatening her with a gun.   One expert testified that as a result of her mental illness, Hunt did not understand the consequences of her actions and she believed she had no alternative but to obey Fotopoulos.

Finally, Hunt published admissions made by the State in the Fotopoulos trial.   In particular, Hunt published statements by State Attorney John Tanner describing Fotopoulos’ relationship with Hunt as a “significant beginning of a pattern of intimidation and terror inflicted on the witness to terrorize her and break down her will ultimately and obtain complete control of her, ultimately resulting in her carrying out the various crimes.”   Tanner also said that Hunt’s testimony was to be introduced in the trial against Fotopoulos “for the purpose to show a clear pattern of physical assault, abuse, intimidation, and coercion-and the direct and primary cause for Deidre Hunt’s criminal activity.”   The State also asserted in the Fotopoulos trial that his threats “had an impact on her;  in effect, paralyzed her;  stopped her from feeling she could go to anyone or talk to anyone or escape from the circumstances․”  Tanner described “a continuing pattern of domination, threat, and intimidation, which ultimately deprived Deidre Hunt of the ability to even resist, let alone disobey.”   The jury returned a verdict finding Hunt guilty as charged.

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