He may be the most closely watched inmate in Broward County – having bolted from a courtroom on July 15, escaping from a supposedly secure courthouse and eluding capture for six days.
But accused murderer Dayonte Resiles has a right to pen and paper and he used it to send a one-page letter to Judge Raag Singhal – entered into his court file on August 29 as a "letter from defendant."
"I want to apologize for escaping from your courtroom," Resiles writes in a neat handwriting. "I hope you don’t take it personal because your (sic) one judge that I have great respect for."
The judge has already denied a defense motion to recuse himself from cases involving Resiles, after the defense argued he shouldn’t preside because he witnessed the escape.
In the one-page letter, Resiles for the first time publicly reveals why he says he escaped.
"I felt I was at a dead end with nowhere to turn to. I tried to appeal to everyone to prove to them I was innocent but my voice went unheard."
You can read the letter in its entirety here.
He claims to be innocent in the September 2014 murder of Jill Halliburton Su, who was found stabbed to death in her Davie home.
Prosecutors say Resiles’ DNA is on a bloody knife found at the scene, but the defense notes the Broward sheriff’s DNA lab recently had its accreditation suspended. Experts say the lab was improperly calculating the likelihood one person’s DNA was included in a mixture of DNA from evidence.
"When I escaped, my whole reason was to gather enough info on my case to prove my innocence," Resiles writes, adding that a phone he left in the Palm Beach County motel where he was captured July 20 will confirm his intentions.
Prosecutors, though, argue his escape proves his "consciousness of guilty" and they want the death penalty jury to hear their argument: If you’re so innocent, why escape?
Defense attorneys are seeking to block any mention of the escape form the jury, but if they lose that motion they want Resiles tried for both the murder and the escape at the same time.
That could allow them to argue Resiles escaped because, as he wrote, "I just wanted to prove my innocence."
His escape touched off a massive manhunt and led to the arrest of several alleged accomplices, including juveniles in the courtroom who allegedly used a cellphone to signal to a getaway car to move into position once Resiles ran from the courtroom. He allegedly used a handcuff key to undo his shackles while in a holding cell and easily escaped down a courthouse stairwell and out a door to the waiting car.
Although he was captured, Resiles said in the letter he did achieve one goal: "Safe to say I have received enough attention and people believe in my innocence."