A Broward judge has ruled a homophobic letter written by a convicted double-murderer will not be part of the evidence against him during his retrial.
Judge Martin Fein read part of accused killer Peter Avsenew's letter in court at a hearing Thursday afternoon.
In it, Avsenew wrote, in part: “You will never be able to stop me. It is my duty as a white man to cull the weak and timid from existence. I will stand up for what I believe in and eradicate anything in my way. Homosexuals are a disgrace to mankind and must be put down. These weren’t the first and they won’t be the last.”
The letter was written to Broward Judge Ilona Holmes who presided over Avsenew’s 2017 trial for the December 2010 murders of Kevin Powell, 52, and Stephen Adams, 47, of Wilton Manors.
Avsenew, now 37, was convicted and sentenced to death but the Florida Supreme Court overturned the 2017 conviction partly because that derogatory letter was submitted as evidence.
Judge Fein is presiding over Avsenew’s retrial and ruled that submitting even an edited letter would have a prejudicial effect on potential jurors.
“This would cause the jurors to convicted the defendant, not because the state proved their case but because the defendant is a bad person,” Fein said.
He added prosecutors might be able to submit the letter as evidence during the sentencing phase if Avsenew was convicted again.
Jury selection for the retrial continues.
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